Pojoaque Boys & Girls Basketball

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Elkettes Fourth, Elks Sixth At Ben Lujan Tournament
Pojoaque’s Isaac Roybal scores against Socorro. Photos by George Morse\valleydailypost.com
Valley Daily Post
The Pojoaque Valley High School boys basketball team and girls basketball teams are both looking for answers after each lost two of the three games they played in at the Ben Lujan basketball tournament hosted by Pojoaque.
The Elkettes finished fourth in the tournament, losing to Santa Fe Indian School 43-40 Dec. 17 in the third-place game. The Elkettes opened the tournament defeating Wingate High School 51-49 in the opening round of the tournament Dec. 15 at Pojoaque. Wingate came out of the gate smoking hot and after a four-point play by Dollena Payton, who nailed a three-pointer while being fouled, the Lady Bears led 9-2. The Elkettes chipped away at the lead and had it down to two points 15-13, but Wingate came back and maintained a seven-point lead 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Pojoaque came back to take the lead in the second quarter 25-24 with 1:36 left in the first half. The score was tied 27-27 at halftime.
The Lady Bears took a 29-27 lead after a basket by Tori Tracy. Baskets by Camille Cordova and Ashten Martinez gave the lead back to the Elkettes, who never trailed again.  Pojoaque led 37-33 going into the fourth quarter.
Wingate managed to get to within two points of Pojoaque 39-37, but an old-fashioned, three-point play gave the Elkettes a 42-37 lead. Pojoaque held off the  Lady bears down the stretch and hung on for a 51-49 victory.
The Elkettes advanced to the semifinals, where they faced future District 2-4A rival West Las Vegas High School. Pojoaque got off to a disastrous start and trailed 14-2 after the first quarter and 23-11 at halftime. The Elkettes fell further behind in the third quarter and trailed 34-18 going into the fourth quarter.
Pojoaque caught fire in the fourth quarter after falling behind 39-25 after going one-for-seven from the free-throw line. A basket by Michaela Martinez got Pojoaque going followed by a score from Ashten Martinez. A charging foul on the Lady Dons was followed by a three-pointer by Adrianna Quintana. Another turnover by West Las Vegas led to two free throws by Qunitana that made the score 39-34 with 44 seconds left in the game.
With 29.4 seconds left, Jenna Bustos nailed a pair of free throws for the Lady Dons to make the score 41-34. Quintana answered with two more free throws that put the lead back to five points. With 11 seconds left to play, Annalysee Lucero put the game away for West Las Vegas with a pair of free throws to make the score 43-36. Another free throw by Bustos made the final score 44-36 in favor of the          Lady Dons.
Against the Santa Fe Indian School Lady Braves Dec. 17 in the third-place game, the Elkettes started well and for the first time in the tournament led at the end of the first quarter 11-9. Despite terrible free-throw shooting by the Lady Braves, who started the second quarter 0-of 3 from the line, Pojoaque couldn’t take advantage. A 6-0 run by Indian School gave the Lady Braves a 15-13 lead. A three-pointer by Kalie Windham gave the Elkettes a 16-15 lead, but the Lady Braves scored the last seven points of the first half, including three-pointers by Iris emery and Harmony Yazzie to lead 23-16 at halftime.
Pojoaque came back to tie the score in the third quarter. The Elkettes held the Lady Braves to just four points. A free throw by Quintana tied the score 27-27 at the end of the third quarter.  
The Elkettes took a 34-30 lead in the fourth quarter after a three-pointer from the corner by Taylor Roybal. Pojoaque was leading 37-34 when Indian School’s Megan Lewis canned a pair of free throws. On the ensuing inbounds play, Pojoaque turned the ball over and Tyra Yepa scored for the Lady Braves to give Indian School a 38-37 lead.
A layup by Emery gave the Lady Braves a 42-39 lead with one minute left to play. Pojoaque could only manage one more point in the final minute of the game, so despite one-for-seven free-throw shooting by the Lady Braves, Pojoaque fell 43-40 to Indian School.
“We played pretty close to 32 minutes of basketball,” Pojoaque Coach Seledon Martinez said. “We’re still learning how to win, learning how to play. I hope we’ve turned a corner. Today was the closest we’ve come to playing 32 minutes almost since the beginning of the season.”
The Ben Lujan basketball tournament did not start well or end well for the Pojoaque Valley boys team.
Sandwiched around a 50-46 win Dec. 16 over Class 3A Desert Academy, the Elks lost to Class 2A Mora High School 65-60 Dec. 15 in the opening round of thee tournament, then fell to the Socorro High School Warriors 46-43 Dec. 17 in the consolation finals.
The Elks had beaten the Warriors 71-61 Dec. 9 at Pojoaque.
“We’re just not playing good basketball,” Pojoaque Coach Joey Trujillo said.
In the opening round against Mora, the Rangers came out strong and took it to Pojoaque, leading 22-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Mora led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter before the Elks came back to lead 32-31 behind Jerry Herrera, who had four three-pointers in the first half for Pojoaque. The Rangers led 36-34 at halftime. Santiago Laumbach had 11 points in the first half for the Rangers.
Mora led 51-46 going into the fourth quarter. The Elks cut the lead to 51-48, but could get no closer than that in the final six minutes. Travis Romero helped keep the Elks at bay, going seven-of-eight from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Mora would advance to the championship game after a 62-61 win over Santa Fe Indian School in  the semifinals.
Pecos High School defeated Mora 80-68 in the championship game Dec. 17 to win the Ben Lujan tournament championship.
Pojoaque dropped into the consolation bracket and faced Desert Academy Dec. 16 in the consolation semifinals. The Elks built a comfortable lead in the first half and led 34-23 at halftime. After a sluggish third quarter by both teams, the elks led 40-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Pojoaque built a 46-34 lead in the fourth quarter, only to watch  most of it melt away as the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run.
A steal and layup by Taso Warsa made the score 46-44 and a shot by the wildcats that could have tied the game rimmed out.
Herrera drove in for a layup to make the score 48-44. A pair of free throws by John Rigatti made the score 48-46.
It took a pair of free throws by Pojoaque’s Isaiah Herrera with 17 seconds left to play to finally put the Wildcats away.
Against the Warriors in the consolation championship, the score was tied 9-9 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Socorro’s Wesley Mauldin got hot from the outside and canned three three-pointers. Pojoaque nearly kept pace and a three-pointer by Isaiah Herrera made the score 22-19 in favor of Socorro at halftime.
Points were hard to come by for Pojoaque in the third quarter and the Elks scored just five points to Socorro’s 10 points.
A three-pointer by the Warriors Ryan Botko made the score 32-24 going into the fourth quarter.
Socorro built a 36-24 lead in the fourth quarter when the Elks fought back.
Trailing 40-31, Pojoaque put together a 6-0 run. A turnaround jumper by James Garcia made the score 40-37. But Garcia fouled out just seconds later.
With 44 seconds left in the game, Pojoaque got to within a point of the Warriors 44-43 after a basket by Dominic Roybal.
Tyler Greenwood put Pojoaque away with a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to make the score 46-43 as the Elks could not score again.
“I would rather have bumps in the road now than come district time,” Coach Trujillo said. “I think it’s something we can overcome. I told the team that ‘You guys got to figure it out.’ I have faith in my boys that they will.”