Pecos Pounds Mora For Second NRG Championship

by Staff Reporter / Jan 10, 2018 / comments
The Pecos High School boys basketball team defeated Mora High School 91-54 in the championship game of the Northern Rio Grande basketball tournament Jan. 6 at Ben Lujan Gymnasium in Pojoaque. It was the second straight NRG championship for the Panthers, who are the defending Class 3A state champions. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Pecos Pounds Mora For Second NRG Championship

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Pecos High School Panthers faced long-standing rival Mora High School for the boys championship of the 70th Annual Northern Rio Grande basketball tournament Jan. 6 at Ben Lujan Gymnasium in Pojoaque. The defending tournament champions, as well as the defending Class 3A state champions, the Panthers were up to the task and defeated Mora 91-54 for their second straight championship.

“The second one is always harder,” Pecos Coach Ira Harge Jr. said. “This team loves a challenge. As a team, we were really motivated to win the NRG again.”

The Rangers and the Panthers both favor an uptempo style, pressing their opponents into turnovers that lead to baskets in transition. Early in the second quarter, the Rangers were still running with the Panthers and trailed by just four points 16-12. Pecos was leading 24-17 when a three-pointer by Mario Archuleta on which he was fouled gave him the opportunity for a rare four-point play. Archuleta buried the free throw and from then on the Panthers held a double-digit lead that they steadily extended throughout the game. The score was 46-25 at halftime and 70-38 at the end of the third quarter.

Archuleta had 20 points in the first half and finished with 24 points.

“This group is so competitive, they hate to lose,” Coach Harge said. “They work hard to do it. They put in the time and effort to make that happen.”

Despite being the defending state champions and having a 12-2 record this season, the Panthers are ranked second in the state in Class 3A. Texico High School, with an undefeated 14-0 record, claims the top spot in the statewide polls. The Panthers and the Wolverines do not play each other during the regular season.