One and done for Vegas teams

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Mora girls, Pecos boys advance to state basketball quarterfinals

By Dave Kavanaugh

The Pecos Panthers will be going to the Santa Ana Star Center for this week’s state basketball quarterfinals.


So will the Mora Rangerettes.

And count the defending state champion (Class B) Wagon Mound Trojans in for their quarters, which play out at Bernalillo High School.

But no teams from Las Vegas proper will join them, having been eliminated in games over the past weekend.

No. 2 seed Pecos throttled No. 15 New Mexico Military Institute by a 90-70 count on Saturday evening at Sanchez Gym.

NMMI trailed 47-36 at halftime but the fast-paced Panthers did not let up, nearly doubling their lead in the second half. It was 66-44 at the end of the third quarter.

Coach Russ Gilmore’s squad picked up its 26th win and moves on to play Mesilla Valley Christian at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Star Center in Rio Rancho. Mesilla Valley, the No. 7 seed, trounced No. 10 Santa Fe Prep 46-22.

Meanwhile, the Mora Rangers lost a nip-and-tuck battle in Santa Rosa, 69-67, in an 8-vs.-9 matchup that lived up to its billing.

Mora led by one point with 35 seconds remaining, but the Lions came through with the go-ahead score.

It was 34-32 Mora at halftime and 51-49 Santa Rosa going into the fourth.

The photo finish contrasted with a 72-57 Santa Rosa win back in December.

In other Class 2A boys’ bracket action Saturday, No. 1 Laguna Acoma stomped No. 16 Dulce; No. 3 Dexter got past No. 14 Ramah 67-51; No. 4 Tularosa dropped No. 13 Clayton 60-48; No. 5 Texico dismissed No. 12 Tohatchi 50-33; and No. 6 Bosque edged No. 11 Tucumcari 45-43.

No. 4 Mora held off a game No. 13 Rehoboth Christian for a 47-37 tally Friday evening in Montoya Gym.

Destiny Pacheco scored 22 to pace the Rangerettes, going 10 for 11 at the charity stripe and grabbing eight rebounds. Chantel Rivera chipped in 16 points to up her career total to 1,239.

“My girls played a very good defensive game,” said Mora coach Mark Cassidy. “I’m proud of them for that. All the girls contributed in one way or another. Good team win.”

It was 10-7 Mora after one, but the home team outgunned their guests 18-11 in the second quarter to carve out a 28-18 halftime advantage.

The Rangerettes improved to 26-2 and now get ready to play No. 12 seed Clayton at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Star Center. The Yellow Jackets surprised No. 5 Tularosa 50-48 on the road Friday.

Also in 2A girls’ play, No. 1 Laguna Acoma blew out No. 16 Mesa Vista 77-15; No. 9 Hatch Valley tripped up No. 8 Estancia 50-47 on the road; No. 2 Texico bounced No. 15 Ramah 60-15; No. 10 Navajo Prep took a mild upset 51-44 at No. 7 Dexter; No. 6 Zuni dominated No. 11 Cuba 92-55; and No. 3 Navajo Pine nearly doubled up No. 14 Santa Fe Prep 53-27.  

No. 8 Robertson committed too many turnovers, forced and unforced, and No. 9 Socorro exploited this for a 59-46 triumph Friday night at Mike Marr Gym.

RHS led a couple times in the opening quarter but Socorro made five of six foul shots in a row to wrest control away. The Lady Warriors took a modest 10-8 edge after one period but never again trailed.

After falling behind 26-18 at the break, Robertson rallied with two Abbey Bradley buckets and a Santana Aragon three-pointer to make it 26-25. But Socorro’s Theresa Chavez padded the lead with two free throws, then sank four more at the 2:41 mark — two due to a technical foul whistled against the Lady Cardinals. Socorro led 38-27 at the end of the quarter, its run broken only by a Bradley basket.

Bradley finished with 11 points.

The Lady Cards had beaten Socorro 68-55 on Feb. 12.

No. 13 seed West Las Vegas lost 67-45 at No. 4 Shiprock.

West finished 17-13.

Fellow District 2-3A girls’ squads Taos and Pojoaque Valley both advanced, while Raton did not.

The fifth-seeded Taos Lady Tigers topped No. 12 Sandia Prep 53-43, while No. 7 Pojoaque handled No. 10 Thoreau 56-38. Raton, the 11 seed, lost 46-32 at No. 6 Lovington, fading late after a competitive first half.

In other 3A girls’ action, top-ranked Hope Christian slapped No. 16 Wingate 78-40; No. 2 Santa Fe Indian — led by former New Mexico Highlands coach Cindy Roybal — rocked No. 15 Ruidoso 67-44; and No. 3 Portales slipped past upset-minded St. Mike’s, the 14 seed, 37-34.

Seventh-seeded Silver’s commanding finish gave the Colts a 66-49 win over No. 10 Robertson, eliminating the Cardinals (12-16), who were state runners-up a year ago.

The Cards’ defense played effectively early on, doubling up their host 16-8 by the end of the first period.

But Robertson’s offense cooled; Silver recovered and led 38-35 by the end of the third.
It was the second win this season for the Colts over RHS; Silver won 59-36 back in January at a St. Mike’s tournament.

No. 12 West Las Vegas (9-19) lost 62-51 at No. 5 Portales, also Saturday night.

It was 47-29 through three quarters but the Dons made a strong push at the end.

The Rams defeated the Dons 71-60 on Jan. 12 in the Portales Shootout.

Fellow District 2-3A club Taos lost 45-41 to visiting Lovington in a mild 9-over-8 upset. No. 16 seed Raton got tripled up by No. 1 Hope Christian 93-31 in an Albuquerque contest.

The lone survivor from 2-3A was No. 6 Pojoaque Valley, a 70-33 victor over No. 11 Bloomfield.

The Elks, who have Las Vegas native Mark Loera as an assistant coach, will play Sandia Prep in a Wednesday morning quarterfinal.

The No. 3 seed, Prep beat No. 14 Socorro 67-50. No. 2 St. Mike’s defeated No. 15 Wingate 40-29. No. 4 Shiprock overwhelmed No. 13 Ruidoso 65-46.

At 17-7 overall, the Wagon Mound boys’ team has a spot in the Class B quarters running from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Bernalillo’s gym. Wednesday’s winners advance to the semifinals, 9:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Thursday, also in Bernalillo.

Wagon Mound defeated Maxwell 61-47 in a Friday contest.

Class B quarters run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Bernalillo High. Semis are 8 and 11:30 a.m. Thursday.


State basketball tournament tickets are $10 adults, $5 students and seniors, general admission, at both the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho and The Pit in Albuquerque. The Pit also has $15 reserved chairback seating. Tickets for games played at Bernalillo High School are $8 adults, $5 students and seniors. For games held at The Pit, UNM will charge a $5 parking fee for vehicles carrying fewer than four passengers.