onathon Crespin and Isaiah Bustamante got the Capital Jaguars started Monday night at Mike Marr Gym. And those two also played the role of closers, securing a 45-32 win over host Robertson.
A team stocked with upperclassmen who’ve been through a battle or two along the way, Capital exploited several turnovers by the considerably less experienced Cardinals in building its lead.
As it is usual style, Capital dictated the pace with a deliberate half-court game; both sides showed defensive prowess, but it was the Jaguars who were better able to control the ball and see plays through.
Crespin scored four early points and Bustamante knocked down two three-pointers to follow that to give the Jags a 10-2 advantage. The Santa Fe team led 14-6 after one period.
Clint Brayfield, Robertson’s lanky, athletic post, labored under the boards for much of the game. As the second period began, that effort began to pay off as Brayfield scored on a couple of putbacks to trim the gap to 14-10. Mark Maes answered with a three-point shot for CHS, but Brayfield scored off a fine pass from Larry Romero to make it 17-12.
The Jags scored the next four points for a 21-12 lead, but the Cards stayed close. Slowly but surely Robertson chipped away at the lead. At halftime, it was down to 21-17.
Larry Romero’s hoop narrowed the margin to 24-23, and after a defensive stop for RHS, Placido Gomez nailed a three-pointer to give the Cardinals a 26-24 edge.
The lead was short-lived, however. Daniel Goodman quickly tied it with a layup. A Cardinal turnover led to a traffic jam in the paint on the other end. Capital’s Dominic Romero scored on a putback thrown in while he was falling to the floor.
So began a 9-0 run that reached into the fourth quarter and left the Jags holding a 33-26 lead.
Justin Bustos broke the run with a back-door layup off a feed from Romero.
But then Capital scored another nine in a row to take a commanding 42-28 spread. In that decisvie run, Bustamante hit his third three-point basket of the game, and Crespin scored on consecutive fast breaks.
Later, Crespin — at 5-5, the shortest player on the floor — connected on a couple of free throws to round out the scoring.
Robertson (3-3) will have a week off before opening the Stu Clark Tournament next Monday against Shiprock.
Having just finished second in its own Al Armendariz Classic, Capital improves to 7-4.