The adjustment from the football field to the basketball court had been a difficult one at times for the Jaguars’ 5-foot-7 senior guard because he had to learn to slow his mind down.
Yet, the Jaguars needed his speed and quickness in the opening round of the 59th Stu Clark Tournament.
Chavez came up with two big steals, two key rebounds and two crucial points to lead Capital to a 53-47 win over Albuquerque West Mesa in New Mexico Highlands University’s John A. Wilson Complex.
Capital (9-1) will face Moriarty on Friday in a 6 p.m. semifinal, while Albuquerque St. Pius X plays Phoenix Central in the other semifinal.
While Chavez was quick on his feet, he needed a solid month of basketball to feel comfortable.
“It’s a totally different mentality,” Chavez said. “It’s about slowing things down and being patient. In football, if you slow down and be patient, you get tackled. In basketball, you have to choose wisely and make your decisions.”
Chavez took advantage of sloppy ball-handling by the Mustangs (0-5) and got a steal with 1 minute, 20 seconds left and Capital trailing 47-46.
It led to a break, which he finished with a putback of a Michael Sanders miss to make it 48-47, Capital.
It was one of four Jaguars steals in the final 2 minutes as Capital rallied from a 45-41 deficit.
A B.J. Eraze steal led to a Mikey Lopez breakaway for 50-47 with :39 left, then Lopez hit a free throw to make it 51-47.
Chavez rebounded a West Mesa miss — the Mustangs hit just one of their last eight shots from the field — and added a steal that led to a Michael Valencia layup to cap the win.
The run made up for an uneven performance, which saw Capital play listlessly in the first half.
The Jaguars took a brief 22-21 lead on a Valencia 3 with 2:34 left, but they missed their last six shots and West Mesa took a 28-22 lead at the half.
The Mustangs managed just five points in the third quarter as Capital took a 35-33 lead.
“We were just lethargic,” said Mark Senteney, Jaguars head coach. “That’s why we left them on their own at halftime and said, ‘It’s on you seniors.’ And they came to play [in the second half].”
In other action
Albuquerque St. Pius X 72, Bernalillo 59
The Sartans (4-1) jumped out to a 20-6 first-quarter lead and held the margin in double-digits the rest of the way.
Micah Sanchez finished 8-for-10 from the line in the fourth quarter and finished with 24 points to lead St. Pius X.
Brandon Saiz dropped 23 points and Tristan Arnett added 17 for the Spartans (7-4).
Bernalillo plays West Las Vegas in a consolation semifinal at 1 p.m.
Moriarty 63, Las Vegas Robertson 55
The Pintos (9-3) held off a Cardinals’ rally in the fourth quarter to advance to the semifinals.
Moriarty led by as much as 53-38 in the fourth, but Robertson went on a 17-6 run to pull within 59-55 on Joe Mascarenas’ putback with 1:34 left. But Luke Thomas scored the last of his 14 points on a three-point play at 1:03 to give the Pintos breathing room.
The Cardinals (1-4) had a trio of players with 12 points — Ryan Tafoya, Jalen Martinez and Mascarenas. They play West Mesa at 3 p.m.
Phoenix Central 75, West Las Vegas 56
It was a homecoming for Bobcats head coach Darren Bustos.
Central (7-2) gave the Las Vegas native a solid performance to advance to a semifinal against St. Pius.
The Dons (3-5) were pesky, getting to within 31-26 in the second quarter, but the Bobcats went on a decisive 24-9 run that gave them a 55-35 lead.
Antonio Love led Central with 20 points, while Joe Ortiz added 20 for the Dons.