David Rodriguez returned to the bench for Santa Fe High, and not much had changed for his Demons.
Española Valley’s Jared Garduno scored 11 fourth-quarter points to rally the Sundevils to a narrow 47-44 victory over the Demons (10-13, 1-4) in Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium.
Garduno made all five of his free throws in the fourth, including two with 3 seconds left to seal the win for Española (17-6 overall, 4-1 2AAAA).
“It was an excellent game,” said Richard Martinez, Sundevils head coach. “We both played hard and left everything on the table.”
Garduno had 18 points, the only Sundevil to score in double figures, and three steals.
Rodriguez, the Demons’ head coach, was on the sideline after he was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday and missed the game against Capital on Wednesday.
“For 26 years I have dedicated my entire life to Santa Fe Public Schools, 21 years to Santa Fe High, and during that time I have had exceptional evaluations and won awards,” Rodriguez said. “That’s where I belong, with my team on the sideline.
Rodriguez’s presence was noticeable as Santa Fe jumped out to a 21-18 halftime lead and then a 31-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Wyatt Honstein led the Demons with 16 points. Tres Chaires added 13.
“It was good to see David Rodriguez back,” Martinez said. “We have to stick together as coaches.”
Mora 78, Peñasco 58
The Rangers (14-8, 2-2 2AA) played at full strength for the first time in three weeks and jumped out to a 48-23 halftime lead over the Panthers (8-13, 0-4).
“Everything seemed to click again, I didn’t even have to say anything at halftime. … And that’s the first time that’s ever happened,” said Mora head coach James Branch.
Mora’s Lorenzo Chavez scored a game-high 29 points and Cody Najar added a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jeremiah Olivas had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Rangers.
Alvin Lujan and Darren Rodriguez scored in double figures for the Panthers. Lujan scored 20 and Rodriguez 10.
Santa Fe Prep 68, Monte del Sol 59
The Blue Griffins (19-3, 3-1 2AA) recovered enough from a rough loss to Pecos on Monday for a solid win over their district rivals, the Dragons.
Monte del Sol (10-12 overall, 1-3 2AA) stayed within shouting distance at 54-44 at the end of the third quarter and managed to cut into Prep’s lead in the fourth quarter.
Prep junior William Lenfestey carried his weight with 26 points, followed by junior D.J. Casados with 11 points. Senior Dennis Mares led Monte del Sol with 20 points and junior Antonio Tapia added 15.
Pecos 75, Dulce 39
It was more of the same from the Panthers as they took down the Hawks in a nondistrict game on Saturday.
Now 19-2, Pecos is sitting pretty in first place at 4-0 in District 2AA. Dulce (9-10) put up a fight in the first half, trailing by only 35-27 at the half. The Panthers pulled away definitively by the end of the third quarter at 55-32.
Pecos senior Brandon Quintana racked up 23 points, and was amply aided by teammates Aaron Lujan and P.J. CdeBaca with 16 and 15 each. Dulce sophomore Louis Salazar led his team with 11 points, while teammates Chad Panzy and Anthony Redwine each had 10 points.
Santa Fe Prep 40, Monte del Sol 35
It was a battle for second place in District 2AA, something that hasn’t happened to Monte del Sol in its program’s young history. It’s also been at least 15 years — if not longer — for Prep to be this high in the standings.
The Blue Griffins (12-8, 3-2) took sole possession of second despite being down three starters due to illness and sophomore Desiray Anderson playing with a fractured thumb.
“It feels good for the first time in a long time to be in second place in the district,” Prep head coach Anika Amon said.
Monte del Sol (11-9 overall, 2-2 2AA) had trouble hitting its shots and coupled that with foul trouble. The Lady Dragons trailed 30-24 entering the fourth quarter and couldn’t claw their way out of the hole.
“[The Blue Griffins] played some pretty good defense on us,” Monte del Sol head coach Ralph Casaus said. “They contested almost every shot of ours.”
Even with her injury, Anderson still managed 11 points.
Pojoaque Valley 60, Raton 45
The Elkettes held the Lady Tigers to 12 first-half points, and Cheyenne Cordova broke the 1,000-point barrier as Pojoaque took command of second place in 2AAA.
The score was 19-3, Pojoaque (13-12, 3-2) after a quarter and it was 26-12 at the half. Cordova finished with 20 points, and added eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals to boot. She got help from Cheyenne Law with 17 points and Gabby Cordova added 12 and grabbed eight rebounds as well.