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Mescalero sees lead slip away in the end.

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero guard Harry Wheeler, left, brings the ball across half court against the defense of Mountainair's Amador Brazil, Dec. 8, during the first round of the Cloudcroft Mountain Top tournament.

CLOUDCROFT – Mescalero boys basketball coach Randy Courtney always preached control. Control of the clock, control of the ball, control of the score.

For most of the first half against Mountainair in the first round of the Mountain Top Tournament, Dec. 8, the Chiefs showed that control.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Mescalero’s Patrick Denney, right, puts up a shot on the defense of Mountainair’s Amador Brazil, left, during the first round of the Cloudcroft Mountain Top tournament, Dec. 8, at Cloudcroft.

But then top scorer Patrick Denney had to sit out much of the second half in foul trouble, and the Mustangs went on an 18-2 run in the final period to earn a 50-41 victory.

“We did some things better, ran the press offense better and didn’t turn the ball over as much,” said Mescalero coach Randy Courtney. “But we still turned it over at half court. We have to get rid of those turnovers.”

Even with Denney on the bench, Mescalero (1-4) had been able to turn a 30-all tie in the third quarter into a 38-32 lead early in the fourth quarter.

But then the Mustangs (2-4) went their run in the final frame to put it away.

Patrick Denney had 12 points for the Chiefs, despite the foul trouble. Harry Wheeler led Mescalero with 17.

Amador Brazil had 20 points to pace the Mustangs, while Jacob Melding had 12 and Cade Brazil nine. As a team, Mountainair scored eight goals from beyond the arc.

Mescalero now faces District 3-2A foe Cloudcroft in the next round on Friday.

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