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St. Michael’s beats Pojoaque, 64-46

January 26, 2018 GMT

David Rodriguez shined a light on the path to a District 2-4A boys basketball championship.

“A lot of teams in our district have been up and down,” the St. Michael’s head boys basketball coach said Wednesday night. “Whoever wants to play good, clean basketball will be the district champion.”

The Horsemen did their part to get back on that path with a 64-46 win over Pojoaque Valley in Ben Lujan Gymnasium, improving to 2-1 in district play and 8-12 overall. Rodriguez credited his team with playing a better brand of basketball, improving its communication on both ends of the court.

“We’re concentrating on playing better team ball,” Rodriguez said. “We have a bunch of unselfish kids, but they don’t see the floor as well as they should, so it looks like we’re being selfish. We worked on concentrating on that and turning our hard work into something more positive on defense.”

That came in handy in the second half as the Horsemen outscored the Elks 19-12 in the third quarter to turn a 35-24 halftime lead into a more comfortable 54-36 lead heading into the fourth.

Jevon Montoya had a team-high 13 points, while Antonio Gabaldon added 11 and Lincoln Barker 10. Isaiah Herrera led Pojoaque (6-12, 0-2) with 10 points.

St. Michael’s has a nondistrict home game against Albuquerque Sandia Prep on Friday before returning to 2-4A play Tuesday at home against district leader West Las Vegas.

“These three games are important for us,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of basketball is going to go by quickly, and we have to be ready every night and be sharp.”

West Las Vegas 56, Taos 51

The Tigers made a statement with a 65-48 win over the Dons in the third-place game of the Albuquerque Hope Christian Tournament on Jan. 13.

West Las Vegas saved its reply for 2-4A play in Gillie Lopez Memorial Gymnasium. The Dons took an early 17-14 lead after a quarter and steadily padded the lead over the next two quarters. It was 30-26 at the half and 44-35 entering the fourth. West Las Vegas (11-9) pushed the lead to 50-40 with less than 3 minutes left and held on to go to 2-0 in 2-4A.

“Our team is playing together, trusting one another and believing what we are teaching them,” Dons head coach Clyde Sanchez said. “There is no one key player that we are going through or trusting over everybody else.”

West Las Vegas had nine players score, but it helps to have some reliable scorers. John Balizan had a team-high 14 points and Steven Sandoval added 12. Taos’ Abduhl Khweis, who scored 25 points in the previous meeting, has just 13 in the rematch. Quinn Moon led the Tigers (11-10, 2-1) with 15 points and Allen Martinez added 12.