CAPITAN – Once Hondo’s boys had a big lead on Corona, Jan. 5, in the first round of the Smokey Bear Tournament, the game was pretty much decided.
That didn’t mean that Randy Autrey’s Cardinals were going to give in during a 68-30 loss.
Hondo (6-3) led 31-4 after the first period. Corona didn’t get on the board until a free throw by Jim Racher on an Eagle technical foul two minutes into the game.
In fact, Corona’s only points in the entire first period came on free throws.
“In that first quarter, we didn’t have a single shot fall for us,” Autrey said. “Everything rimmed out.”
“When we got down so bad in the first quarter, that was my fault,” he added. “We were playing pretty good man defense, so I thought we’d try it against them. It just didn’t work for us.”
“We had about 8-10 kids show up for us in practice in two weeks over the break,” said Hondo cocach Ben Sanchez. “They’re starting to understand the program and understand what we need to be in.
“We also talk a little too much,” he added, referring to the technical. “We can’t have our seniors in foul trouble at halftime.”
Corona (2-8) got back into it a little in the second quarter, and were doing quite well in the final frame once Sanchez emptied his bench.
Simon Gonzalez had 19 points and brother Miguel Gonzalez 15 to lead the Eagles, while Jaime Morales had 10, Bryan Huey seven and Tarren Washburn six points to lead Corona.
“Simon is healthy, his physical therapy is over,” Sanchez said. “We’re healthy right now. If we can stay that way, we’ll be OK.”
Hondo takes on Capitan in the championship semifinals today, while Corona faces off against Carrizozo in the consolation bracket.
“We’ve just got to make more baskets,” Autrey said. “We only took 13 shots in the first half.”