Sundevils Cruise past Capital, Still Undefeated in District 2-5A

by Staff Reporter / Feb 12, 2018 / comments
3936  Española’s J. P. Sena puts up a shot against Capital. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Sundevils Cruise past Capital, Still Undefeated in District 2-5A

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Española Valley High School boys basketball team continued to crush District 2-5A opponents with a dominating 90-66 victory over Capital High School Feb. 9 in Santa Fe. Leading 36-28 at halftime, the Sundevils caught fire in the second half and put 54 points in the scorebook. Española pulled away in the fourth quarter, scoring 31 points.

“When we get rolling, we roll,” Española Coach James Branch said.

Española’s Zach Mascarenas drives to the hoop against Capital. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

The first quarter was back-and-forth as Capital gamely hung with the Sundevils thanks nine points from Tyler Alarid. The Jaguars led 12-8 when J. P. Sena completed an old-fsahioned three-point play followed by a turnover and layup by Christian Fernandez thsat gave the Sundevils a 13-12 lead. The teams traded baskets until Alarid scored to give Capital an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Española’s Isaiah Vigil drives to the basket. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Española took a 20-18 lead when Martin Gracia led off the second quarter with a three-pointer. Isaiah Vigil’s three-pointer gave Española a 25-22 lead. After Capital came back to tie the score, back-to-back three-pointers by Ryan Trujillo and Vigil gave the Sundevils a six-point lead. After Trujillo scored on a layup off a nice alley-oop pass from Vigil, Zach Mascarenas finished the first half with a three-pointer that gave Española a 36-28 lead at the halftime break.

Española’s Ryan Trujillo scores against Capital High School. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

“It was kind of slow in the first half,” Mascarenas said. “We felt it in the second half on both sides of the court-offense and defense.”

In the third quarter, Española’s defense started to wear down the Jaguars and the Sundevils went inside a little more, with post Azaziah Salazar scoring all five of his points in the paint. The Sundevils converted turnovers into points and sank just one three-pointer. The Sundevils were able to extend their lead to 15 points by the end of the third quarter and led 59-44 heading into the fourth quarter.

Española’s Azaziah Salazar shoots a jumper against Capital High School. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Gracia started the fourth-quarter fireworks with a three-pointer. He had the hot hand as he sank two more three-pointers and a couple of free throws in just over a minute to give Española a 77-53 lead. Brian Martinez added a pair of three-pointers. Española was on target in the second half, sinking over 60-percent of its shots and canning six three-pointers.

“It was one of those nights,” Gracia said.

Trujillo led Española with 20 points. Gracia had 16 points, while Fernandez finished with 11 points. Martinez and Vigil had 10 points each for the Sundevils.

“Everyone gets involved and we’re playing as a team,” Mascarenas said. “That’s what going to get us the farthest.”

The Sundevils improved to 22-1 on the season and 6-0 in District 2-5A. The Sundevils face Los Alamos High School Wednesday (2/14) in Los Alamos ad host Del Norte High School Saturday (2/17) in their final regular season game at Española.