Española senior point guard Ryan Trujillo scored 33 points in the Sundevils' 81-63 victory over Los Alamos Feb. 16 in Española. The Sundevils are 7-0 in District 2-4A. Española faces Taos Saturday in Taos (photo by John McHale).
Sundevils Still Undefeated In District 2-4A
By George Morse
The Española Valley High School boys basketball team remained undefeated in District 2-4A with an 81-63 victory over Los Alamos High School Feb. 15 at Española. Behind 33 points from point guard Ryan Trujillo, the Sundevils led 39-28 at halftime and were up 57-46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Española pulled away in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 22 points before coasting to victory. Española improved to 7-0 in district play, setting up a second showdown against Taos High School Saturday (2/23) in Taos.
The Hilltoppers were putting up a game battle in the first quarter before the combination of Trujillo and fellow senior Brian Martinez started to click. They combined for 15 points in the first quarter. Add in three straight free throws by Gabriel Serrano after he was fouled behind the arc and the Sundevils had raced ahead to a 24-12 lead.
Los Alamos gained a little ground in the second quarter and got a nice dunk by Gavin Campos, who scored six points. Española was just 5-of-10 from the free-throw line. The Hilltoppers scored 16 points to 15 points for the Sundevils and trailed 39-28 at halftime.
Los Alamos made major progress slicing into the Sundevils’ lead in the third quarter. After back-to-back three-pointers by Campos and Brian Irwin, followed by a basket from JD Carson, the Hilltoppers were within striking distance of the Sundevils, trailing by just four points.
Then a technical foul was called on Española. The Hilltoppers would get two free throws and then retain possession of the ball. The potential was there for Los Alamos to tie the game and even take the lead. The Hilltoppers didn’t take advantage of the situation. Irwin made just one free throw and the Hilltoppers didn’t score on the ensuing possession. Out of a potential four or even five points, the Hlltoppers got just one and Española had a 44-41 lead.
Just as he has done many times throughout the season, Trujillo reignited the Sundevils. He scored on a putback and fed Christian Aizpuro for a hoop-and-harm and a three-point play. Jordan Duda canned a three-pointer, Trujillo scored on a driving layup and Martinez passed up a three-pointer for a short baseline jumper that gave Española a 57-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Los Alamos’ Matthew Owen scored to cut Española’s lead down to single digits 57-48, but that would be the Hilltoppers last hurrah. Duda got things started with a three-pointer. Trujllo had three baskets and a pair of free throws during a 15-2 run that put Española firmly in control of the game with a 72-50 lead. The Sundevils cruised to an 81-63 victory.
Trujillo’s 33 points led all scorers. Martinez added 18 points for the Sundevils. Campos had 21 points for the Hilltoppers.
Española improved to 7-0 in District 2-4A. The Sundevils finish the regular season taking on Taos High School in a key District 2-4A game Saturday in Taos.
The Tigers are 6-1 in District 2-4A and their only loss came at the hands on the Sundevils 74-59 in Española. The Tigers are notoriously hard to beat at home. Taos is 16-7 on the season, but undefeated (8-0) at home. A victory by the Tigers would forge a tie for first place and force a playoff game on a neutral court.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Española Coach James Branch said. “It’s going to take a big-time effort on both ends of the court. Everyone’s got to do their job.”
Española’s Justino Rascon puts up a shot against Los Alamos (photo by John McHale).