By George Morse
Espanola Valley High School completely dominated Pojoaque Valley High School in the first half of their District 2-4A game at Ben Lujan Gym Feb. 8 at Pojoaque. The Sundevils held the Elks to just four free throws in the first quarter while establishing a 154 lead. In the second quarter, Espanola poured in points from the perimeter and in the paint to lead 37-16 at halftime. The Sundevils ran on cruise control in the second half and came away with a 62-46 victory.
“They jumped out to a lead and hit some shots,” Pojoaque Coach Thomas Vigil said. “We weren’t patient enough early. We could never establish any sort of rhythm.”
Espanola’s Garrett May started the game draining a long three-pointer from the top of the key. Jordan Duda scored on a pullup jumper for a 5-0 lead. After two free throws by Pojoaque’s Nathan Valdez, May scored on a drive. May fed Juan Branch for a layup. Espanola’s Jon Garcia almost made the highlight reel when he went for a dunk after a turnover. He ended up slamming the ball hard off the rim.
Pojoaque couldn’t make a shot from the floor and the Elks’ only points came from the free-throw line. Two baskets by Ollie Fell gave Espanola a 15-4 lead.
Duda caught fire in the second quarter and nailed three three-pointers for Espanola. Anthony Law scored on a nice reverse layup inside, then took a long pass for an easy layup on the fast break. The closest Pojoaque got to the Sundevils was 18-10 after a three-pointer by Rob Martinez. Duda’s second three-pointer gave the Sundevils a 21-10 lead. Espanola maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game. The Sundevils led 37-16 at halftime.
The pace slowed down in the third quarter. Pojoaque didn’t make much progress cutting into Espanola’s lead. The Sundevils scored just nine points, while Pojoaque scored 10 points. Espanola led 46-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We pretty much controlled the pace in the second half,” Espanola Coach Gabe Martinez said. “We’re definitely trying to learn to be patient. We’re working on being able to execute within our offense.”
Pojoaque was never able to put together any threat to Espanola’s lead in the fourth quarter and the Sundevils cruised to victory. Law led Espanola with 12 points. Duda, Fell and May each scored 11 points for Espanola.
Sean Aragon had 12 points for Pojoaque. Dante Ortiz scored 11 points and Nathan Valdez 10 points for the Elks.
Espanola improves to 4-1 in District 2-4A. The Sundevils are in second place in District 2-4A. Taos High School is in first with a 4-0 record. Espanola is 14-8 overall. Espanola hosts Moriarty High School Wednesday at Espanola in its next District 2-4A game.
Pojoaque falls to 1-4 in District 2-4A. The Elks picked up their first District 2-4A win Feb. 6 at Pojoaque with a 60-54 victory over Los Alamos High School. Pojoaque is 7-16 overall. Pojoaque faces Taos Tuesday at Taos.
Photos by George Morse/valleydailypost.com