It wasn’t as easy as A-B-C, but ABC Mortgage, behind Richard Johnson’s 18 points, was one better than the Albuquerque Bombers, 51-50, as the final week of regulation season play ended in the Los Lunas Men’s Basketball Association.
Finishing its regular season on a modest two-game winning streak, ABC (3-9 overall, 2-4 in Division 1) avenged its early season 63-61 loss to the now slumping Bombers (3-9, 3-3). The loss cost the Bombers an “A” tournament berth in the upcoming playoffs.
Johnson scored the go-ahead basket for ABC, putting his team up 48-47 with just 17.3 seconds left in the game. And he scored the final seven points on a pair of fielders and 3 for 5 from the free throw line to preserve the victory.
ABC Mortgage ended the first half on a 16-5 run to take a 31-21 halftime advantage. But the Bombers, who felt the absence of leading scorer Jason Arceneaux, pecked away at the deficit and finally tied the game at 34-34. Ensuing ties at 39 and 41 were fashioned by a pair of baskets by post Landon Banks and a 3-pointer by Nick Baca.
The final tie occurred at the 7:35 mark at 41-41. The teams traded baskets until the Bombers’ Lamott Daffin scored on a put-back for the Bombers’ last lead at 47-46.
Chris Johnson followed Richard with 11 points for the winners. Banks led all scorers with 20 points for the Bombers. Baca scored 15, and Mike Jones added 11.
Lone Mt. Contracting 71
Douglas Contracting 55
Lone Mountain Contracting (6-6, 3-3 in Division 2) came up one victory short in reaching the “A” tournament, but pride and passion paid off handsomely in a convincing 71-55 win over Douglas Construction (9-3, 4-2). Lone Mountain blew a 19-point lead in an earlier contest to DC but out-hustled and outplayed the Division 2 runners-up this time.
Firing in 7 of 10 3-pointers and enjoying a rebound advantage, the Mountain climbed to a 37-24 halftime lead, thanks to 13 first-half points by Josh Utash and 10 by Steve Montoya.
Frustrating DC all afternoon on defense and getting to loose balls, Lone Mountain scaled its highest peak at 15:40 in the second half, 52-32, against lethargic DC.
Despite a two-game slide to end the regular season, Douglas garnered the second seed in the “A” tournament. Lone Mountain is the No. 1 seed in the “B” tournament.
Utash led LMC with 19 points and got ample scoring help in Montoya and Ernie Soto Jr. with 16 points apiece. Wally Salata led DC with 13 points. Jason Duran added 12, and Jay Lewis contributed 11.
Salata, who led the LLMBA in scoring for 10 weeks, saw his quest for a fifth scoring title clang against the rim. He finished third with a 27.4 points per game average, behind Shawn Baker of Avonite (30.3) and Al’s/Husky/Sunrise’s Evan Grain (27.4).
LL-Belen Ballers 72
Heritage Title 69
Newcomer Scott Blair scored 21 points, Tim Hanks 20 and Jeremiah Cordova 15 as the Los Lunas-Belen Ballers snapped a six-game losing streak by nipping the Heritage Title Crusaders.
The Ballers (3-9, 2-4 in Division 1), behind Blair’s 11 first-half points, surprised the depleted charges of the Crusaders (8-4, 3-3), forcing a 36-36 stalemate at intermission.
Hanks took over the scoring load in the second half by whipping in 14 points for the Ballers, offsetting another fine scoring outburst by the Crusaders’ Avery Cheeks. Cheeks fired in 15 of his team-high 25 points in the second stanza.
Heritage Title led for the last time, 67-66, at the 2:15 mark. The Ballers’ Jeremiah Cordova canned a field goal, and Hanks rifled in his sixth 3-pointer to help seal the win.
Jon Baca scored 17 and Adrian Chacon added 10 for the Crusaders, who enter the “A” tournament as one of two wild cards and the fifth seed.
Oak Tree Inn 37
Shawn Baker scored 30 points, Rick Ortega 29 and Tony Valencia 28 as Avonite (10-2, 6-0 in Division 2) secured the top seed in the “A” tournament.
Avonite enjoyed a huge 52-25 halftime lead and continued to roll past a revamped Oak Tree lineup that simply didn’t have the size, talent or depth to match the powerful purple-clad visitors.
Baker won the league’s scoring title, averaging 30.3 points per game. He, Valencia and Willie Sanchez had a huge impact on an Avonite team that went winless (0-12) last season.
Michael Dawson and brother Shawn led Oak Tree with 12 and 10 points respectively.
No Doubt 69
Dave Griego scored 26 points to help Homegrown snap a two-game losing streak and edge divisional rival No Doubt. Homegrown (9-3, 4-2) captured the Division 1 crown with the win. No Doubt (7-5, 4-2) managed runners-up honors in Division 1.
After a narrow 34-32 halftime lead, Homegrown bolted to a commanding 56-38 lead with 12:16 remaining. No Doubt mounted a strong comeback behind 6-foot-4-inch jumping jack JoJo Brooks. Brooks banged in 15 of his game-high and season-high 28 points.
A 14-2 No Doubt run cut Homegrown’s lead to 58-52, but the winners canned 12 of 16 free throws for their final points to eke out the victory. By contrast, No Doubt made only 2 of 7 from the charity stripe.
Eloy Medina, who won back-to-back 3-point scoring titles with 44, added 14 for Homegrown. Margarito Amaya netted 10. Homegrown broke its own team record with 133 treys on the season, besting 131 from last season. Jaime Williams followed Brooks with 14 points, and Bryce Smith added 12 points for No Doubt.
Homegrown earned a third seed and No Doubt a fourth seed for the “A” tourney playoffs.
Youngblood 0 (forfeit)
Al’s Mini-Mart/Husky Drilling/Sunrise Builders (7-5, 3-3) got a late Christmas present. By virtue of the Albuquerque Bombers’ one-point loss to ABC Mortgage and a forfeit over Youngblood (5-7, 1-5), Al’s grabbed the sixth and final seed for the “A” tournament.