Corona boys lose early lead

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Corona's Conner Cox, left, tries a shot as Cloudcroft's Marshall Virden runs to defend, Feb. 6, at Cloudcroft.

CLOUDCROFT – If you ask Corona’s boys basketball coach Randy Autrey, he believes his team has a chance to win every game it plays this season.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Corona’s Bryan Huey, left, drives to the lane against the defense of Corona center Lathan Green, Feb. 6, at Cloudcroft.

They certainly had a chance Monday night, having taken an early lead over Cloudcroft in the first quarter.

But it was a lead that wouldn’t last. The Bears took their time, but eventually came back for a 39-33 victory.

“They’re starting to play together and starting to see the court,” said Corona coach Randy Autrey. “I could see a difference in them tonight.”

Corona (3-17) was up 10-4 after the first quarter, using a patient offense which was able to get inside and find the open basket.

But that patience deserted the Cardinals in the second quarter.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Corona’s Jaime Morales dribbles toward the basket, Feb. 6, at Cloudcroft.

By the time halftime rolled around, the Bears (4-19) had completed a glacially-slow turnaround to take a 13-10 lead.

Cloudcroft never trailed after that, and Corona just couldn’t get back into a rhythm.

“I don’t know why we were struggling with our shots and free throws there,” Autrey said. “But, it’s part of the game. We’ll get it.”

Actually, the Cardinals were able to start scoring again, but it wasn’t until the very end.

Kasen Flotte led Cloudcroft with 14 points, while Lathan Green added 10 for the Bears.

Jim Racher and Conner Cox had 15 and 10 points, respectively, while Jaime Morales hauled in a game-high 17 rebounds.

“Jaime’s been hammering the boards all year for us,” Autrey said. “Now everyone is stepping up to his level.”

It’s nothing but District 3-1A games from here on for the Cardinals (1-1 District 3-1A), and Autrey is excited.

“I’m excited, and I can’t wait to see Vaughn again,” Autrey said. “We’re ready.”

Nothing goes right for girls

Corona’s Lady Cardinals were unable to do much against the taller – and more numerous – Cloudcroft team, falling 62-25.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Corona’s Chelby Brown, right, prepares to shoot a three as Cloudcroft’s Diana Cook rushes to defend, Feb. 6, at Cloudcroft.

Corona (8-12) is without senior Aubrey Brandenberger, who is out with a hip injury from three weeks ago.

But coach Terri Racher doesn’t think that mattered too much on Monday.

“Tonight just wasn’t our night, and I don’t think Miss Brandenberger would have made that much of a difference,” Racher said. “They outrebounded us, they couldn’t hardly miss a three, and they were beating us down the floor.”

Corona was down by just a point early after a three-pointer by Chelby Brown, but the Lady Bears (5-18) were able to zoom away in the second quarter, scoring 27 points and taking a 43-12 lead at the break.

Brown was the closest any Lady Cardinal came to double figures with eight points, while Diana Cook led Cloudcroft with 16.

Like the boys, Corona’s girls are also into district full time now.

“I think we can hang with Vaughn, if we get Aubrey back on the floor and get more aggressive with these younger ones,” Racher said. “We haven’t met up with Hondo. I don’t know how well we’ll do with them, but we’re sure going to try.”

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