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Routs mark Thursday hoops slate

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Horsemen, Dons, Elks win decisively

By Dave Kavanaugh

Three District 2-3A boys’ basketball games.

Three lopsided final scores.

Thursday night’s most compelling game in the snoozefest took place at Mike Marr Gym, where 2-3A leader St. Michael’s — the No. 2 ranked team in the state at 16-7 overall and 7-0 in district — methodically blew open a close game with a big fourth quarter to defeat Robertson 43-30.

Across town at Gillie Lopez Gym, West Las Vegas (14-9, 4-3) throttled Raton 70-51. And Pojoaque Valley (15-8, 6-1) rolled past Santa Fe Indian 66-50, setting up a significant rematch with the Dons on Saturday in Jacona. Back on Jan. 29, the Elks nipped West 59-57 at Gillie Lopez.

Horsemen 43, Cardinals 30

Jordan Romero accounted for a game-high 16 points, including back-to-back three-pointers to open the game for St. Mike’s.

R.J. Mc Nellis and Mike Martinez did most of the scoring for Robertson, who kept the game close through three quarters. RHS trailed 8-3 after a defense-oriented first period, but the Cardinals scored eight straight points to open the second, taking an 11-8 lead on buckets by Martinez and Larry Romero.

The Horsemen, deliberate and patient as ever, retaliated with a 9-0 run and took a 19-15 advantage by halftime. McNellis’ basket with three minutes left in the third regained a 23-22 edge for the Cardinals, but Patrick Griswald’s old-fashioned three-point play made it 25-23 St. Mike’s to end the quarter.

Griswald’s play started a run of 15 consecutive points that gave St. Mike’s a 37-23 lead midway through the fourth quarter. From there, the Horsemen were content to trade buckets with the young Cardinals.

McNellis finished with 14 and Martinez 10 for Robertson, who host Santa Fe Indian on Saturday.

Dons 70, Tigers 51

Visiting Raton held its own — for a quarter. Then West Las Vegas overwhelmed the Tigers in the second quarter to seize a 36-21 halftime lead.

The lead ballooned to 25 points at 48-23, and WLV head coach Morgan Montaño went to his bench.

Anthony Madrid, making a much-anticipated return from a stint on the injured list, made some plays to lead the second unit. Among the others who saw above-normal playing time were Josh Brito, Jacob Knezevich, Corey Archibeque, Jordan Lopez and Tomas Benavidez.

Even without standout post Adrian Rivera for the latter part of the game, the Dons maintained their cozy lead. It was 52-27 at the end of the third and 66-41 midway through the fourth. A couple of threes by Lucas Serna and Derek Valdez got the Tigers closer, but the outcome was never in doubt.

Rivera, who rolled his ankle in the second half, should be probable for Saturday.

The Pojoaque game is expected to be another barn-burner and could help decide the runner-up spot in the district race.

•••

In girls’ district action Friday night, WLV (16-7, 4-3) hosts Pojoaque (24-0, 7-0) in one of the most eagerly awaited games of the schedule. Pojo has not lost a game this season — and, indeed, not since before last year’s state championship run — but came closest to doing so Jan. 28 in a 53-50 decision over the Lady Dons.

Robertson (11-12, 3-4) travels to Raton, and Santa Fe Indian hosts St. Mike’s in the other girls’ games Friday.