Trojans Take Consolation Championship At NRG

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The Mesa Vista High School boys basketball team took home the consolation trophy at the Northern Rio Grande basketball tournament, defeating Dulce High School 47-44 Jan. 6 in the consolation championship at Ben Lujan Gymnasium in Pojoaque. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Trojans Take Consolation Championship At NRG

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Mesa Vista High School boys basketball team came back and won its next two games after losing to Escalante 48-38 Jan. 4 in the opening round of the Northern Rio Grande boys basketball tournament. The Trojans trampled the Questa High School Wildcats 58-35 Jan. 5 in the consolation semifinals, then had a thrilling 47-4 victory over Dulce High School Jan. 6 to claim the consolation championship trophy.

“They trusted each other and believed in each other,” Mesa Vista Coach Benito Maestas said. “They have confidence in each other.”

The Trojans 19-17 at halftime and 34-28 heading into the fourth quarter. The Hawks led 38-32 when a three-pointer by Xavier Varela started a 10-2 run by Mesa Vista.

Mesa Vista’s Xavier Varela takes a shot against Dulce. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

A three-pointer by Julian Quintana-his fourth of the game-put the Trojans in front 41-40. Brian Gollas added a free throw for a 42-40 lead.

Dulce tied the score after a pair of free throws by Tyreek Redwine and then took the lead on a basket by McKayla Harrison. Varela, who led the Trojans with 13 points, fouled out.  Fortunately, Dulce missed the two ensuing free throws.

Mesa Vista’s Brian Gollas drives to the basket against Dulce. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

With 41 seconds left to play, Mesa Vista had a chance to tie the game, but Frankie Ortiz missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the free throw line. The Trojans got the ball back after forcing a turnover. Mesa Vista worked the ball around the perimeter. With 27 seconds left, Augustine Campos nailed a three-pointer to give Mesa Vista a 45-44 lead.

“I got a really good pass,” Campos said. “I set my feet and shot it. It felt good.”

Another turnover by the Hawks put Ortiz back on the free-throw line with 9.5 seconds left to play. He redeemed himself, sinking both ends of his one-and-one opportunity for a 47-44 lead by Mesa Vista.

“I’m glad I was able to make them for my team and win the game,” Ortiz said.

Dulce’s couldn’t get off a good shot and Mesa Vista hung on for the victory.

The Trojans improved to 8-6 on the season. A key to Mesa Vista’s success this season is that the players not only trust themselves, they also trust their coaches.

“We got used to playing by their rules and running their plays,” Ortiz said. “We have confidence in them because they work. We’re trusting the coaching system.”

The Trojans face McCurdy Charter School Frida (1/12) in Ojo Caliente.