Sundevils Stage Miraculous Comeback, Beat Eldorado

Sundevils Stage Miraculous Comeback, Beat Eldorado

By GEORGE MORSE
Valley Daily Post
Española  Valley High School’s 72-70 come-from- behind victory over Eldorado High School of Albuquerque was more than just a comeback. It was a resurrection.
The Española  boys basketball team looked dead and buried by halftime against Class 6A Eldorado Dec. 30 at the Rio Rancho Holiday Hoops tournament at Rio Rancho High School. The Eagles had soared in the first half, scorching the Sundevils for 42 points while holding Española  to 21 points. Eldorado had easily broken Española’s full-court defense for open looks and layups. The layups often resulted in old-fashioned, three-point plays.  
Fans started to leave early as it looked like the Sundevils were being overwhelmed. Those that left missed something special.
Española  exploded in the second half. The Sundevils sliced 11 points off of Eldorado’s lead, outscoring the Eagles 29-18 in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Sundevils completed their comeback by tying the score 68-68 at the end of regulation, forcing overtime. Española  prevailed in overtime with a 72-70 victory. Azaziah Salazar led Española  with 26 points. With the victory, the Sundevils took third place in the tournament. Española  is now 10-2 on the season and hosts St. Michael’s High School Saturday in Española. Española’s thrilling victory over Eldorado came the day after the Sundevils suffered their second loss of the season to tournament host and defending Class 6A state champion Rio Rancho High School. Española  played a good first half and trailed by just six points, 37-31 at halftime. Midway through the third quarter, the Sundevils were within three points of the Rams, 46-43. Rio Rancho caught fire and finished the third quarter with a 13-0 run to lead 59-43 heading into the fourth quarter. The Rams went on to a 79-60 win.
Española  began the tournament defeating Socorro High School of El Paso, Texas, 59-50 Dec. 28 in the opening round of the tournament. The Sundevils played a lousy first half, scoring just 13 points to trail the Bulldogs by 11 points at halftime. Española  ramped up its defense in the third quarter and junior Isaiah Vigil caught fire from beyond the perimeter. Vigil buried his second three-pointer of the third quarter to make the score 28-27 in favor of the Bulldogs.
With Socorro leading 30-27, Martin Gracia had an old-fashioned, three-point play to tie the game. Vigil then knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to give the Sundevils a 36-30 lead and Española  never trailed again. Vigil scored 14 points, including four three-pointers, of his game-high 16 points in the third quarter to help Española  take a 40-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Sundevils led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter before settling for a 59-50 victory.

Advertisements