The state basketball playoffs have come to an end, and for the three Valencia County teams that made the playoffs the results were mixed.


Belen boys

The Belen Eagles season ended on a sour note in the semifinals of the state playoffs, losing 49-44 in overtime to Del Norte last Friday in The Pit in Albuquerque.

Daniel Corrales led the way for Belen with 18 points and 9 rebounds, and Brody Jaquez scored 5 points and had 11 rebounds in the loss.

Belen fell behind 10-4 in the first quarter, but chipped away to get within 19-18 at halftime. In the third quarter, Del Norte’s Judah Casaus caught fire and would push the Knights lead to 31-23.

Just two minutes into the fourth quarter, Belen was dealt another blow when Jaquez fouled out of the contest.

Adam Evarts | News-Bulletin photo
Brody Jaquez gets ready to shoot a free throw during Belen’s semifinal game with Del Norte. Belen lost 49-44 in overtime.

Del Norte would take a 33-24 lead with just over five minutes to go in the ball game when Belen’s defense would stiffen against the Knights offense, and the Eagles offense came to life.

The Eagles would chip away, and down four with 21 seconds left. Guard Jordi Rojo would hit a three-point basket to bring Belen within 36-35.

Belen would then foul Del Norte’s Shane Douma-Sanchez, who made just one of his two free throws to make it 37-35 with 11 seconds to play.

After getting the ball to half court on the inbound pass, Belen took a timeout with 8 seconds left to set up a potential game-tying play.

The inbound pass went to Dalton Bland, who tried to pass it to Corrales near the basket. Bland’s pass was tipped by a Del Norte player, but would bounce right to Elijah Romero, who was all by himself under the basket.

Romero put the ball in the basket as time expired to tie the contest at 37-37 and force overtime.

In overtime, Belen found Corrales twice open under the basket for easy lay ups, and with a 41-37 lead, it appeared the Eagles were going to find a way.

Del Norte’s Casaus would take over, scoring 5 points and coming up with three assists to help the Knights sink the Eagles.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of these kids,” Belen head coach Donald Marquez said. “At the beginning of the season, I thought we could get here to The Pit, and here we are.”

Belen made it to the semifinals with two wins in the state playoffs. The Eagles opened with a 41-36 win at home over Gallup on Saturday night. Corrales scored 12 points in that win.

On Wednesday night, the Eagles knocked off the two-seeded Taos Tigers on the Tigers home floor, 46-39. Jaquez led the scoring that night with 13 points, and Rojo added 12 points.


Valencia girls

The Lady Jaguars made it to the Elite 8 of the 4A state playoffs, before falling to eventual champion Kirtland Central.

To open the playoffs, Valencia defeated Hope Christian by a final of 59-43. Jadyn Montoya led the way with 22 points for the Lady Jaguars, setting up the match-up with Kirtland Central for Tuesday night.

Early on, it appeared Valencia would struggle, as they would fall behind 9-2 early in the first quarter.

After that, a combination of Montoya, Azalia Mazilia and Elena Lucero would give the Lady Jaguars a 26-17 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Montoya would take over, scoring 16 of her 22 points in the second 16 minutes to help Valencia pull away to victory.

Against Kirtland Central, the Lady Jaguars got off to a quick start, taking an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

After that, though, the Valencia offense would sputter, while the Broncos hit seemingly every shot and Valencia would fall by a final of 51-35.

The Lady Jaguars end their season with an 18-12 record overall, their best season under head coach Micaela Medina.


Los Lunas boys

The Los Lunas boys would advance to the Elite 8 of the 5A state playoffs before their season came to an end to the La Cueva Bears.

The Tigers opened the tournament with a home game against the Cleveland Storm. Led by Jalin Holland’s 23 points, the Tigers dispatched of the Storm by a final of 59-53 to move on to the next round.

That win would stretch their winning streak to 13 games and would set up the contest with the Bears, who were the 3-seed in the state playoffs.

In that game against La Cueva, the Tigers could not hit shots like they had during the winning streak.

Holland would have 24 points in the game, but the Tigers could not overcome the hot-shooting Bears, as they would fall 66-49.

The Tigers end the season with a 21-9 record overall and their fourth consecutive district championship.

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Adam Evarts is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he studied journalism and history. He has lived in Valencia County most of his life. Adam covers sports for the Valencia County News-Bulletin, including prep competitions for the three local high schools, Senior Olympics, rodeo, Little League and more.