Capital managed to retain the Stu Clark Tournament championship by a 58-53 count over the Phoenix Central Bobcats in boys basketball despite:
• Losing forwards Mikey Lopez and Taylor Martinez to fouls;
• Having guards Christian Martinez and Michael Sanders play the last 2 minutes, 45 seconds with four fouls;
• Shooting just 15-for-47 from the field and hitting 24 of 34 free throws;
• Four technical fouls in the final 2:45, including one on Taylor Martinez after making the first of two free throws;
• And finally, ending the game with no player taller than 5-foot-11 on the court.
Yet, somehow, some way, Capital (11-1) found a way. But even this ending left the Jaguars, who are accustomed to drama, perplexed.
“I really don’t know how we pulled it off, to be honest with you,” said Taylor Martinez. “With as physical a team we are, I think we just got it done.”
The final three minutes were among the most bizarre in tournament history, as Phoenix Central’s bench was called for a technical, then head coach Darren Bustos was whistled for two more and ejected within 26 seconds of each other.
Capital, which led 46-43 when the first infraction occurred, hit only 3 of 6 of the freebies and led just 49-45.
The Bobcats (8-3) battled back, though, and when Derek Bustos drained a 3-pointer with 1:46 to go, it was 51-48.
Still, Capital hung on, as it forced a Central steal after coughing it up, then retained possession on a jump-ball situation when Christian Martinez and Bobcats center Famoun Miller were tied up.
Capital hit six of their last nine free throws, but one make proved to be crucial, as Taylor Martinez was called for a “T” when he apparently said something at the line. It was his fifth foul and Anthony Garcia took his place, but missed the second attempt with :43.7 left and the Jaguars leading 54-49.
“I don’t know what Taylor said, but when we go to the line, we have nothing to say to the opposing team,” said Mark Senteney, Capital head coach. “We can’t be baited into those things.”
Derek Bustos had a chance to cut into the lead when he was fouled on a 3 by Garcia, but made just one of three to make it 56-51 at :21.
It made up for another porous shooting night for the Jaguars, who hit just six of their first 34 shots and trailed at one point 34-23 in the third quarter because of it.
They went 8-for-13 after that, including a 3-for-5 stretch that got Capital to within 34-31 on Taylor Martinez’s layup with 1:23 left.
Lopez had 17 points for Capital, while Christian Martinez hit 13 of 19 from the line and had 23 points.
Abq. St. Pius X 56, Moriarty 47
The Sartans used an 18-14 scoring edge to break a 22-all halftime tie and steadily pulled away from the Pintos.
Brandon Altamiriano scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half for St. Pius (6-2), while Luke Thomas led Moriarty (9-5) with 17 points.
Bernalillo 65, abq. West Mesa 57
The Spartans (9-4) outscored the Mustangs 25-14 in the first quarter and held on to take the consolation championship.
Branden Saiz had 24 points to lead Bernalillo, while Tristan Arnett had 14. Eric Gutierrez’s 17 points paced West Mesa (1-6), and Jason Baca added 16.
Las Vegas Robertson 59, West Las Vegas 51
The Cardinals (2-5) used a 17-9 run in the third quarter to erase a 31-28 halftime deficit and went on to take seventh place in an East-West city rivalry.
Ryan Tafoya scored 13 of his game-high 23 points, and Jose Mascarenas had 11 of his 15 in the second half to spur the rally. D.J. Bustos and Joe Ortiz led the Dons (2-7) with 15 points a piece.