CAPITAN – After an embarrassing 51-11 loss at Hagerman on Jan. 10, the Capitan boys basketball team was looking for some redemption.
They got it Jan. 13, as they defeated the visiting Cloudcroft Bears 49-43.
While the Tigers (5-9) were happy with the win, the game was closer at the end than it should have been.
“We’re missing some of the guys that run our structured stuff, and the guys we have left are more used to running a more chaotic offense,” said Capitan coach Justin Foust. “Cloudcroft didn’t have a deep bench, and I figure we could wear them out. That’s what happened in that third quarter.”
After heading into the fourth quarter with a 46-29 lead – thanks to a 19-5 run at the end of the third period – the Tigers (5-9) let Cloudcroft back in it a little bit.
Mainly that was due to the Bears’ (3-12) decision to go with the layup instead of shooting threes that kept falling short.
“I also went with some guys that hadn’t had a lot of playing time, because down the road, who knows who’s going to be sick,” Foust said. “We went to some rotations that I hadn’t tried before.”
Enrique Hernandez had the best night of any player on the floor with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Capitan, while Dewell Eldridge had 17 point and a trio of three-pointers.
Price Bowen – back with the team after a number of weeks due to a football injury – said it felt great to contribute to the victory, even in a small way.
“I always feel confident we can win,” Bowen said. “We didn’t achieve all our goals, but we did the best we could.”
While the win was needed – Capitan lost its last two games in the Smokey Bear Tournament in addition to its drubbing at the hands of Hagerman – things get really tough now.
On Jan. 17, they travel to Magdalena to take on the Steers, unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
After that, they welcome Ruidoso into Traylor gym, Jan. 20, before traveling to Cloudcroft Jan. 24.
All this is in preparation of the beginning of District 4-3A play against Tularosa, Jan. 26.
“This win still helped put Tuesday to rest,” Foust said.