Former Las Vegan Henry Gettler seemed to enjoy his return to the Meadow City over the holiday weekend, taking time to swap pleasantries with old friends.
But Gettler’s homecoming — as head coach of the Newcomb boys’ basketball team — coincided with a tough defeat for his Skyhawks at the hands of the West Las Vegas Dons. WLV and coach Morgan Montaño debuted with a 64-39 victory Saturday at Gillie Lopez Gym.
For the second time in as many days, the Skyhawks started strong but could not finish in the same manner. Rikki Harrison had two baskets and a steal to stake the visitors to an early lead, and Kyle Yazzie’s old-fashioned three-point play made it an 11-6 Hawks lead late in the first period.
With time running out on the quarter, Stevan Gonzales heaved up a prayer from NBA three-point distance. The shot found its way into the hoop, pumping up the West crowd.
In the decisive second period, West outscored Newcomb 18-3.
Gonzales’ trey began a string of 13 uninterrupted points by the Dons; Ambrosio Castellano’s three-ball gave West a 19-11 lead. The Dons went on to close the half with six straight points for a 27-14 cushion.
Harrison scored five points in a 9-0 Newcomb run that turned a 34-17 deficit into a 34-26 score.
Then Jordan Lopez — a state qualifier for West in cross country — knocked down a three from the left corner. And Ryan Aragon scored on a putback jump shot. At the end of the third, WLV led 39-26.
An 8-0 run by the Dons midway through the fourth period ballooned the lead to 20 points. Chris Chavez began the run with a basket. Then T.J. Esquibel hit one of two free throws with 4:08 left. Lopez picked off a Skyhawk pass after that, dishing to Esquibel for a fast-break deuce. Shortly thereafter, Lopez connected on a three-pointer from the left side for a 53-33 lead.
The Dons finished on an upswing, too. Gonzales converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:12 remaining. And after Michael Armijo swiped the ball away from the Hawks, James Duran made the last shot of the game for 64-39.
WLV went for the long-distance shot early and often. The Dons combined for seven three-pointers, including three in the opening period.
Unofficially, Gonzales and Anthony Madrid led WLV with 12 points apiece, Lopez had 11 (including three treys), and Aragon and Castellano added eight each.