Pecos started strong but fouls put Mora at the free-throw line, and the Rangers only trailed 24-19 in the first quarter. The Panthers outscored the Rangers 34-24 in the second and went into the half ahead 58-43. But it was in the third when the Panthers decided they weren’t kidding around anymore.
In the first few minutes of the third, Pecos opened up a 33-point lead, which was exactly what head coach Russ Gilmore wanted.
“I tell my [players] that the most important part of the game is the first three minutes of the second half,” he said.
The Panthers also tightened its defense, and only allowed Mora 11 points in the quarter.
By then, it was only a matter of running out the clock in the fourth.
Pecos hit 11 3-pointers and were 12 of 18 at the line.
Seniors Darren DeHerrera finished with 25 points, with Brandon Quintana hot on his heels with 24 and John Vigil with 22.
Mora junior Cody Najar captured game-high honors, however, with 31 points.
All in all, it was a good day for Gilmore, who’s in his first year with the Panthers. He said that while they’re still working on memorizing plays, rebounding and cutting down on fouls, it’s starting to come together.
“We’re playing together well,” he said. “I’m a new coach, it’s a new program and it takes some time to get adjusted.”
Rio Rancho 54, Española Valley 50
Friday night’s triple overtime game against Rio Rancho Cleveland translated into a slow 19-10 first quarter for a slightly sluggish Sundevils (11-5) team against the Rams (7-3) in the fifth-place match in the John Sapien Holiday Hoops Classic.
Despite perking up in the second and whittling Rio Rancho’s lead to 30-26, and keeping pace, Española couldn’t quite overcome the deficit.
Rio Rancho point guard Josh Lucero had 22 points, followed by fellow point guard Brady Patterson with 15.
Española senior forward John Cotton led his team with 11 points.
St. Michael’s 46, Hereford (Texas) 34
In Clovis, the Horsemen claimed fifth place in the annual Milk Cow Classic in Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Senior Kameron Romero was the lone St. Michael’s player in double figures with 16 points.
Peyton Gonzales led the Whitefaces (7-9) with 11 points.
The Horsemen dropped their opener in the three-day tournament to El Paso Cathedral, then won their final two games to improve their overall record to 5-4.
West Las Vegas 55, Mora 47
Despite starting strong, going up 18-13 in the first, the Rangerettes (6-1) lost momentum in the second and third as the Lady Dons’ aggressive defense held them to 13 points.
Mora clogged the inside, forcing West Las Vegas (10-2) to shoot from the perimeter — which ended up working against the Rangerettes.
The Lady Dons hit six shots from the 3-point line and five came from freshman guard Deanna Bustos.
Bustos had 18 points but game high-score honors went to Mora senior Chantel Rivera with 19.