Escalante Picks Up Two Wins After Overtime Loss

by Editor / Dec 27, 2018 / 0 comments
Escalante's Anthony Ulibarri drives on Pojoaque's Andrew Garcia in the Lobos' 47-43 overtime loss to the Elks in the opening round of the Ben Lujan tournament.

Escalante Bounces Back After Tough Loss

By George Morse

The Escalante High School boys basketball team took a tough loss in the opening round of the Ben Lujan Invitational tournament Dec. 20 at Pojoaque Valley High School. The Lobos took the host Pojoaque Valley into overtime before falling 47-43 to the Elks. Escalante bounced back in the consolation bracket, trouncing Penasco High School 74-45 in the consolation semifinals and smothering Monte del Sol High School 53-25 in the consolation finals to finish fifth at the tournament.

The Class 2A Lobos gave Class 4A Pojoaque all it could handle in the opening round. Neither team did a lot of scoring in the first quarter as the Elks took an 8-7 lead. Escalante edged ahead in the second quarter, scoring12 points to 10 for Pojoaque. Low-scoring was the order of the day as neither team lit up the scoreboard. The Lobos led 19-18 at halftime. Escalante could have led by more, but missed 5-of-6 free throws in the first half. The Lobos would finish the game going just 11-of-22 from the free-throw line.

Free throws are what kept the game close for Pojoaque, as the Elks went 8-of-10 from the line in the first half and would sink 22-of-25 during the game. The game would remain close. Escalante’s Randy Ferrell had a pair of three pointers for the Lobos in the third quarter, but the Lobos scored just eight points. Pojoaque managed nine points and the score was tied 27-27 going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Elks built a37-33 lead mostly from the foul line. A. J. Blea and Cortez Martinez fouled out for Escalante and the Elks went 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Anthony Ulibarri came up with a steal and layup to cut Pojoaque’s lead to two points. After a turnover by the Elks, Ulibarri sank two free throws after struggling at the free-throw line most of the game. That tied the score at 37-37 with 2:47 left in regulation.

Neither team scored again. Escalante had a great opportunity to take the lead, but missed three shots including a point-blank putback. Pojoaque had the ball with 18 seconds left in the game, but turned the ball over following a timeout. Escalante missed a three-pointer and the game went into overtime.

The score was tied 39-39 in the four-minute overtime period when Pojoaque made the decisive run that would decide the game. Dante Ortiz nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key. Lucas Archibeque followed with a three-pointer from the wing. Two free throws by Nathan Valdez finished off the eight-point run that gave the Elks a 47-39 lead with time running out on the Lobos. Ferrell had a pair of free throws and a steal he converted into a layup, but it was too late and Pojoaque held on for the win.

After giving the Class 4A Elks a battle, the Lobos had no problems dispatching their next two Class 2A opponents. Escalante plays tight defense and has held seven of their nine opponents to under 50 points so far this season. Against Penasco in the consolation semifinals, the Lobos outscored the Panthers 43-24 in the second and third quarters to take control of the game and cruise to a 74-45 victory.

Escalante’s defense was even more dominating in the Lobos 53-25 victory over the Monte del Sol Dragons Dec. 22 in the consolation finals. The Lobos didn’t let the Dragons score more than nine points in any one quarter and held Monte del Sol to a measly two points in the fourth quarter. Unable to penetrate Escalante’s tight zone, the Dragons launched shot after shot from the perimeter. Most of them missed. The Lobos led 26-14 at halftime and outscored Monte del Sol 19-2 in the fourth quarter behind 10 fourth-quarter points by Cortez Martinez.

The Loboa are just 4-5 on the season. They have played a tough early schedule. 

“We’re going to zone press the whole year,” Escalante Coach Henty Gettler said. “We need to have better practices and more  intensity. That’ll be our strength once they buy into it top to bottom. I’d like to use 9-10 guys to keep them fresh the whole year.”

Escalante faces McCurdy Charter School Saturday in Tierra Amarilla. The Bobcats defeated the Lobos 46-43 in overtime Dec. 1 at McCurdy. Escalante will compete in the Northern RioGrande tournament Jan3-5 at Pojoaque Valley High School.

​Escalante's Dakota Gonzalez scores against Monte del Sol. 

Escalante's Randy Ferrell scoops in a layup against the Monte del Sol Dragons. Escalante won 53-25 in the consolation finals.

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