Valencia doubled Grants’ point total and beat the Pirates 71-35 on Tuesday in the first round of the district tournament.

“We were hungry for another one,” said Valencia head coach Josh Mattox. “We need another one to build some momentum.”

The first two quarters of the game were a little closer. The Jaguars (16-11, 5-4) led 14-6 in the first quarter, and 29-15 by halftime.

Things changed in the second half. In the third quarter alone, the Jags outscored Grants 34-9 and went into the fourth up 63-24.

“We were able to keep pressure on them defensively and wore them out,” said Mattox. “We were just trying to get our feet wet in the first quarter, and then we took off.”

Senior Kyle Dodds led the Jaguars with 22 points on the night, 13 of which came in the third quarter.

“(Dodds) is one of many guys who can go out for 20 any night,” said Mattox. “Tonight was his night.”

Up next for the Jaguars is a second round rematch with St. Pius, who beat Valencia 57-49 two weeks ago. Mattox looks forward to the game.

“We’re going to try to avenge our last home loss,” said Mattox. “It ruined our senior night, and we have to get them back for that.”

The Jaguars and Sartans will tip off at Valencia at 6 p.m. tonight.

The winner will face the top team in 4-A basketball β€” Los Lunas High School (23-3, 8-0) β€” at 6 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, Belen (12-15, 4-4) fell to St. Pius 55-48 in the first round of the district tourney on Monday.

On the girls’ side, Valencia (3-24, 1-7) fell to St. Pius 53-31 in the first round of the girls’ district tournament. Belen (9-18, 1-7) lost their first round matchup against Grants 44-25.

The 4-A top-ranked Los Lunas Lady Tigers (23-3, 8-0) will host the winner of tonight’s St.Pius vs. Grants game. That game will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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Dustan Copeland