Mike Powers| News-Bulletin photo
Los Lunas was shutdown Wednesday by a smothering Organ Mountain defense during the 5A State Basketball Championships quarterfinals in the Pit.


It was a defense that was fast, furious and physical.  

Second-seeded Organ Mountain (28-1) handcuffed No. 7 Los Lunas (20-10) from start to finish Wednesday, leading to a dominating 57-32 victory in the quarterfinals of the boys 5A State Basketball Championship in the Pit.  

“I am very disappointed with the way we played. That’s not Tiger basketball,” said Los Lunas coach Travis Julian.  

A driving basket by LLHS senior guard Rex Kinsey in the first quarter tied the game at 8-8, but the Tigers never held the lead.    

While numbers can be misleading, in this case they give an accurate account. The Tigers were 8-44 on field goal attempts, making just three baskets after the first quarter. Junior guard Jalin Holland, the most highly-recruited boys’ player in New Mexico, did not make a field goal in 17 attempts.   

“We were asking guys to pick him (Holland) up at half court,” said Organ Mountain coach Rocky Gonzales. “When he looks to drive, he’s got to see a double team.”   

Los Lunas guard Jalin Holland, with the ball, was often double-teamed and held without a field goal by the Organ Mountain defense.

Holland was fouled 15 times.  

“They were definitely fouling me every time I got the ball,” Holland said about the Knights’ aggressive approach.     

“We were really looking to get into him,” Gonzales said about playing Holland tight, “and force him to take tough shots.”   

Julian praised the Organ Mountain defense, but also cited the Tigers’ lack of execution.  

“There was very poor ball movement,” the coach said. “Shot selection was poor. I’m going to give them credit; their defense was good, but a lot of it was the way we played.”  

Los Lunas guard Logan Tafoya is helped to his feet after getting accidently hit in the face during the game against Organ Mountain.

Los Lunas trailed 30-19 at halftime and never made a serious run the rest of the way, going scoreless in the fourth quarter. It was in sharp contrast to the pair of games the teams’ played against each other earlier in the season, with Organ Mountain winning by a combined nine points.  

“I felt I could have been more physical myself,” Kinsey said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team effort and I felt they wanted it more than us.” 

Senior Isaiah Juarez led LLHS in scoring with 11 points. Holland added 10, all from the free throw line. Brandon Kehres, who scored on several putbacks, led the Knights with 23 points and 11 rebounds.   

It was the final game for Los Lunas seniors Isaiah Aragon, Logan Tafoya, Juarez and Kinsey, all starters.  

“It’s been a hell of journey that I’ll always be grateful for,” Kinsey said. 

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Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.