Pojoaque Survives Scare From Socorro To Face Silver Wednesday

Chris Cordova moves the ball while strong defense guards. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post

Pojoaque Survives Scare From Socorro To Face Silver Wednesday

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Pojoaque Valley High School boys basketball team could breathe a little easier and look forward to a quarterfinal game in the Class 4A state basketball tournament after surviving a scare from upset-minded Socorro High School to take a 50-46 victory in the opening-round game March 5 at Pojoaque.

The Warriors led throughout the first half and most of the third quarter before the Elks took their first lead of the game at 3:29 of the third quarter on a basket by Tevin Flowers. The lead seesawed back-and-forth for the rest of the third quarter until a basket by Darrel Vigil gave Pojoaque a 37-36 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Joseph Fresques. Valley Daily Post photo

After Socorro took a 38-37 lead, Pojoaque put together a 5-0 run to take a 42-38 lead. Socorro came up with steal and Sean Moore was driving in for a layup when he was fouled emphatically by Vigil, who blocked the shot. Socorro’s Mike Armijo got into Vigil’s face and was called for a technical foul.  

It ended up hurting the Warriors, as Moore missed both of his free throws and Chris Cordova canned both of his free throws from the technical foul to give Pojoaque a 44-38 lead.

Socorro still battled back to tie the score after a pair of pullup jumpers by Dennis Woods and a pair of free throws by Moore that tied the score 44-44 with 2:42 left in the game.

Dominic Roybal. Valley Daily Post photo

After coming up with a turnover with 1:50 left to play, Socorro had a chance to take the lead, but Woods’ jumper came up short and Pojoaque grabbed the rebound. The Elks worked the ball inside to Vigil, who sank a short baseline jumper to give Pojoaque the lead 46-44 with 49 seconds left in the game.

“I felt a smaller defender on me,” Vigil said. “I felt I could knock down the shot and I took it.”

The Pojoaque defense came up big on Socorro’s next two possessions, stripping the ball away as Moore attempted to drive. After the second strip, Flowers was all alone at the other end of the court and his easy layup gave Pojoaque a 48-44 lead.

Moore sank two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to make the score 48-46. Socorro immediately fouled James Garcia on Pojoaque’s next possession. Garcia sank both free throws with 5.6 seconds left to give the Elks a 50-46 victory.

“We’ve won and lost a lot of games like this,” Pojoaque Coach Joey Trujillo said. “Low-scoring, grind it out. Survive and advance.”

The Elks were led by Tevin Flowers and James Garcia, both juniors, whom each scored 11 points on the night, and Dominic Roybal, a junior, added 6 counters, while senior point guard, Joseph Fresques, executed well in the winning effort. The fourth seed Elks now travel to the Albuquerque metro to play a Quarterfinal game against the five seed, Silver, at the Santa Ana Star Casino, in Bernalillo, on Mar. 9, at 9:45 am. Winner of that game moves on to the WisePies Arena, “The Pit,” for their Semifinal game on Mar. 11, at 8 am.

Pojoaque Valley and Silver, as their Tournament seeds reflect, four and five respectively, are closely matched statistically. For example, Pojoaque has 22 victories while Silver has 19, and both teams have 7 losses. Should be a classic game, by all accounts, at the Santa Ana Star Casino early Wednesday morning, in this Class 4A State Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal.