Jesse Jones| News-Bulletin photos
Vayda Golino blocks a shot Tuesday for Los Lunas during the Tigers 34-27 victory over Belen.

With the district high school basketball schedule starting next week, local teams are sharpening their skills and focus. Tuesday’s games included a number one ranked team visiting Los Lunas and two old rivals facing off in Belen.  


Los Lunas 

It was a tall order Tuesday for the Los Lunas boys’ basketball team against Volcano Vista at the Tiger gym. The Hawks are the two-time defending 5A state champion, top ranked according to MaxPreps, with the reigning New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year in 6’6” Kenyon Aguino. 

Mike Powers| News-Bulletin photo
Tuesday’s matchup in Los Lunas featured two of the top players in New Mexico, with the Tigers’ Jalin Holland, number 11, and Volcano Vista’s Kenyon Aguino, number 24, facing off.

The tenth ranked Tigers (9-6) are no slouches either, led by Metro Player of the Year Jalin Holland. 

Volcano Vista used scrappy defense and 16 points by Aguino to lead 23-8 after the first quarter. 

The Hawks haven’t been effective shooting three pointers, but nailed nine against the Tigers. “Our game plan was to try and pack it in a little bit, try to get a little more help on Aguino. It just didn’t work,” said LLHS coach Travis Julian. 

Los Lunas went to a zone briefly, which seemed to slow Volcano Vista, but the visitors led 33-17 at halftime. 

“They’re a very good defensive team,” Julian said, with the Hawks sending two or three players to harass Holland. 

Holland, who finished with 15 points, gave the Tigers a spark in the third quarter with back-to-back steals, one of which ended in a thunderous dunk. 

However, the Hawks were never threatened on the way to a 62-47 victory. Aguino led all scorers with 27 points, while Fernando Rico chipped in nine for Los Lunas. 

“I thought our kids fought,” Julian said. As for district play, “I feel good about it. I think we’re still in a good place.” 

LLHS plays Friday at Hobbs. 



It was a loud, thrilling atmosphere Tuesday at Belen High School, as the Eagles renewed their rivalry with Los Lunas in girls basketball. “The environment was everything that I heard it could be and wanted it to be,” said BHS coach Sam Gavaldon. 

But the Eagles didn’t handle it well to start. “I think the nerves got to the girls. The shots weren’t falling,” Gavaldon said. 

Los Lunas raced to a 12-0 first quarter lead, but after that “We just tightened up,” said LLHS coach Manny Vigil. “We missed a lot of open shots,” which allowed Belen to pull to within six points at halftime. 

BHS used three pointers by Jaelynn Bob and Danilynn Bob to grab a one-point lead heading into the final quarter. Then it was time for the Tigers to regroup, with Allysa Campos, Vayda Golino and Scarlet Marez forcing turnovers leading to baskets. 

“I thought our kids were pretty resilient—to fight back, take control and finish the game strong,” Vigil said of the Tigers’ 34-27 victory.  Campos had 17 points for LLHS while Analeigha Wright had seven for BHS. 

Belen (6-7) hosts Gallup Thursday while Los Lunas (7-6) faces Artesia Thursday in the first round of the Hope tournament.   

Meanwhile, the BHS boys (7-9) won Tuesday at Menaul 68-50. Damian Avila had 20 points, Jordi Rojo 19 and Jasode Harris 13. 

Belen went 1-2 last week in the North-South Shootout in Taos.   



Winning three of four quarters was small consolation to Valencia boys basketball coach Jesse Hathoot after losing Tuesday to Santa Fe Capital 53-48. “We were in pretty good control,” Hathoot said, with VHS up 25-17 at the half.

Jesse Jones| News-Bulletin photo
Carlos Tafoya of Valencia, in white, wrestles for the ball during Tuesday’s game against Santa Fe Capital.

Then came the third quarter, which was “so bad, it kind of did us in,” Hathoot said. Even though Capital outscored Valencia by 15 points, the host Jaguars still had a chance. 

Several times Valencia pulled to within a bucket but no closer. “We didn’t lose because we didn’t play hard. We just lost because of mistakes,” Hathoot said, adding “As coaches we have to be better.” 

Damian Estrada had 16 points to lead Valencia. 

“I feel good about where we are,” heading into district, Hathoot said. However, he believes district 5-4A may be the best in the state. “It’s going to be a gauntlet every night.” 

VHS (9-7) visits Socorro Friday.  

The Valencia girls (9-6) return to the court Thursday at Kirtland Central, number one in 4A. VHS, ranked eighth, is coming off a 74-61 victory over Bernalillo in which Jadyn Montoya set a school record with 33 points.   

What’s your Reaction?

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.