Bobcats Beat Griffins, Prepare For District Tournament

by Staff Reporter / Feb 23, 2018 / comments
McCurdy’s Kemmer Croff shoots a short jumper against Santa Fe Prep. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Bobcats Beat Griffins, Prepare For District Tournament

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The McCurdy Charter School boys basketball team knew what they needed to do if they wanted to defeat Santa Fe Prep School in the Bobcats final regular season game Feb. 16 at McCurdy. Stop the Blue Griffins’ junior guard Sam Sparks. In an 85-65 loss at Santa Fe Prep Feb. 7, Sparks had put up an eye-popping 41 points on McCurdy.

“We set out a game plan and they executed it perfectly,” McCurdy Coach Ernesto Espinoza said. “Not let Sparks score.”

McCurdy held Sparks to just seven points and beat the Blue Griffins 67-53 to secure second place in District 2-3A with a 4-2 record. It was not enough to knock Prep out of first place, as the Blue Griffins finished with a 5-1 district record. McCurdy will host the semifinal game of the District 2-3A tournament Wednesday (2/21) in Espanola.  The Bobcats will play the winner of the Monte del Sol Charter School/Dulce High School game.

Against the Blue Griffins, McCurdy trailed 7-3 in the first quarter. A pair of free throws by Ubaldo Barela, followed by back-to-back three-pointers by Isaiah Archuleta and Ernesto Martinez put the Bobcats ahead 11-7 after an 8-0 run. McCurdy led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.

McCurdy’s Ubaldo Barela drives under the basket for a reverse layup against Santa Fe Prep. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

The action was back-and-forth in the second quarter with McCurdy taking leads of 17-10 and 21-16 only to have Prep come back and close to within a point of the Bobcats. McCurdy was leading 26-22 after another three-pointer by Martinez when Prep’s Dillon Abeyta drained a three-pointer and a free throw by Shokie Bundy tied the score 26-26 at halftime.

McCurdy’s Raul Arroyo drives to the basket against Santa Fe Prep. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post


Prep took a 34-33 lead in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Victor Rios. It was the last lead the Blue Griffins would hold. McCurdy used plenty of Prep turnovers and missed shots while dominating the backboards to take off on an 18-3 run fueled by Barela and Kemmer Croff. Barela had 11 points in the third quarter and Croff added eight points as the Bobcats outscored Prep 25-11 to take a 51-37 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“We came together,” Croff said. The coaches and the team had a game plan we all believed in and we executed it.”

Prep quickly cut McCurdy’s lead in half with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Twice the Blue Griffins had the lead down to six points. Leading 57-51, the Bobcats put together a 10-0 run that started with a three-pointer by Croff and ended with a three-pointer by Martinez that put McCurdy back in control with a 67-51 lead. McCurdy milked the clock and Prep couldn’t create the turnovers it needed as the game wound down. The Bobcats took the victory.

Barela finished with 20 points to lead McCurdy. Croff scored 18 points and Martinez had 10 points for the Bobcats.

“We need to show up for every game,” Barela said. “It’s our job as captains (he and Croff) to motivate the team.”

McCurdy finished the regular season with a 16-8 record and is currently ranked ninth in the MaxPreps polls in Class 3A. The top eight seeds get to host a home game in the opening round of the Class 3A state basketball playoffs. Because they finished in first place during the regular season in District 2-3A, the Blue Griffins will host the District 2-3A tournament championship game Saturday (2/24) in Santa Fe.