MESCALERO – Chief boys basketball coach Randy Courtney knew his team’s game, Jan. 16, against Gateway Christian was winnable.
Indeed, the Chiefs had a 37-36 lead as late as the fourth quarter before the Warriors’ superior size and rebounding enabled them to escape with a 53-46 victory.
“We turned the ball over, pushing out that zone defense bothered us,” said Mescalero coach Randy Courtney. “Also, in the second half, they won the rebound battle, which we had won in the first half.”
Mescalero (7-9) made things interesting from the start, taking an 8-4 lead midway through the first quarter thanks to a hectic defense that caused Gateway turnovers.
Mescalero had a 26-20 lead at halftime, but the lead could have been more had the Chiefs been able to shoot better – both from the field and from the free throw line.
As a team, Mescalero was 8-for-19 from the charity stripe, while the Warriors shot exactly two foul shots in the entire game, both by Jaydon Stephens. He made one of them.
“We missed a few free throws that we’d made in the past. If we knock those down, we might have won this game,” Courtney said. “The kids worked hard, and I’m not disappointed at all. A few shots fall here and there, this is a different game.”
Aloysius Comanche led the Chiefs with 13 points, while Harry Wheeler put in 10 points. Stephens’ free throw was part of a 15-point effort for Gateway, followed by Wes Tipton with 12 points– six of them in the final quarter.
Things get really difficult tonight when Tularosa comes calling on Mescalero.
“Not to make any excuses, but I had a couple of kids sick, and I’m hoping we can get them ready,” Courtney said.