On Thursday night, it could be practically be heard out in the parking lot.
The cowboy boots-wearing Las Vegas Robertson boys basketball coach was up to his usual foot-smashing ways in the nightcap of the opening round of the St. Michael’s Invitational in Perez-Shelley Memorial Gymnasium. He had good reason to make a little ruckus this time.
With his Cardinals unable to withstand Silver’s full-court press, he stood by and watched his club drop a 59-36 decision that was every bit as lopsided as the final would have indicated.
To top it off, the game was played in a near-empty gym.Only a smattering of family joined the handful of players from the tournament’s other two teams in the stands.
Earlier in the day, it was a completely different story. With the tournament hosts on the floor for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff against Bloomfield, the gym was nearly full as St. Michael’s routed the visiting Bobcats 67-26.
The school gave its students a “Buy-Out” clause, meaning they could drop $3 on a game ticket to avoid attending class the rest of the afternoon.
The proceeds went to a scholarship fund to help cover the cost for students whose families are struggling to meet tuition payments.
“It’s for a good cause and we had around 300 students take advantage of it,” said Ron Geyer, Horsemen head coach.
A three-day, six-team tournament, the action resumes Friday when St. Michael’s (8-6) faces Silver (8-4) at 7 p.m. Robertson (4-8) takes on Bloomfield (5-9) at 5:30.
The Cardinals had Thursday’s game get completely away from them in the second quarter when Silver’s press began to take over.
On the strength of several turnovers and missed Robertson shots, the Colts went on a 23-10 run to assume control. Derek Salas scored nine of his game-high 20 points in the period while Allen Garcia had eight of his 18.
Salas is a familiar name around St. Michael’s.
The starting quarterback on the Silver football team that reached the Class AAA state championship game against the Horsemen last month, he helped his team open a commanding 46-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Robertson’s inexperienced backcourt had trouble setting up the offense, often turning the ball over near midcourt against an aggressive press that made life miserable for the Cardinals in the second and third quarters.
Ryan Tafoya led Robertson 16 points.
No other player had more than seven.
The scoring for St. Michael’s was spread out, as well — for good reason. All 14 players who suited up scored.
Leading the way was Jeff Groenewold with 12.
Daniel Ortega had 10 and Salomon Martinez eight. Martinez was the first Horsemen player to dunk a ball this season, doing so on a breakaway in the first half.
Leading 32-16 at halftime, St. Michael’s outscored Bloomfield 24-5 in the third quarter to initiate the running clock.
It was the third straight win for the Horsemen and marked the seventh time in eight games they’ve held an opponent under 45 points.