Los Lunas boys basketball’s run ended in the state final against seventh-seeded Valley High School. The Tigers fell 37-34 in a defensive battle.
“I feel like this was one of those games where there wasn’t a loser,” said head coach Travis Julian. “Both teams competed, both teams deserved to win…if you play in these games, you sign up for this. We’ll bounce back.”
The Tigers and Vikings traded leads throughout the game as both squads struggled to connect on their shots. Only two players reached double-figures in the game. Zeller dropped 16 points, while Valley junior Seyi Oyeku led all scorers with 19 points.
Though Los Lunas held a small 29-27 lead heading into the final eight minutes, they slowly lost that lead. With 20 seconds on the clock, the Tigers had an opportunity to regain the lead, but a missed layup dashed their championship hopes. Valley was fouled immediately and hit a pair of free throws to secure the win with 2.5 seconds left.
As Los Lunas heads into the next season, Julian hopes to put this loss in the past. The Tigers will lose several key seniors, particularly Zeller, Dominguez and Garcia. The coaching staff will take a break, but it will soon be back to the drawing board.
“Here in a few weeks, we’ll get back in the weight room and back on the court,” said Julian. “That’s what we do.”