HONDO – It was a sweep of Cloudcroft for Hondo’s boys and girls basketball teams, Feb. 3, but the complexion of the games couldn’t have been more different.
Hondo’s girls – missing their leading scorer – struggled at first, but were eventually able to turn an 11-all halftime tie into a 44-31 victory.
In contrast, the Eagle boys scored the first 22 points en route to a 75-23 thrashing of the Bears.
Hondo’s girls (16-4) were without the services of Fallon Velasquez, who was sitting on the bench with an ankle injury. She was suited up, but would only come in the game if it was absolutely necessary.
For three quarters, it was looking as though she might see some playing time, but the Lady Eagles were finally able to get things together by the final period, going on an 8-2 run to start the frame and eventually pull away.
“When you’re used to seeing someone on the floor and they’re not there, it takes a while to adjust,” said Hondo coach Alice Velasquez. “The girls had to step up and we had to find a few answers. What was supposed to be a relatively good game for us became a challenge.”
Hondo was led by Kyra Lucero’s 14 points, while Chase Dictson put in 13.
“We know we need Fallon, but we started getting our confidence back after halftime,” Lucero said. “That’s when we started playing as a team.”
Sabina Judah came closest to double figures for Cloudcroft (4-17) with nine points.
Hondo has a pair of games against Mountainair and Carrizozo next week before jumping back into District 3-1A play against Corona on Feb. 10.
“We’ve proved we can win all these games, it’s possible,” Velasquez said. “Cloudcroft is bigger, more girls, and they can run.
“But our priority is district tournament,” she added. “As soon as we get everyone back in shape, we’re rolling well.”
In control early
Hondo’s boys (16-5) were in control from the very beginning, holding the Bears (3-18) scoreless until a bucket by Tyson Hughes made it 22-2 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles took that huge lead the way you’d expect – with a relentless press that caused turnover after turnover, leading to layup after layup.
Hondo coach Ben Sanchez said the game showed his team is finally starting to figure out the game plan he’s been trying to instill this season.
“They’re starting to understand the plays, they’re setting up without confusion, our press is looking better with every game,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully they’ll be right where we need them by the time district championship comes around.”
Simon Gomzalez led the way with 27 points, while Antonio Vazquez had 21 points. The pair combined for six 3-pointers.
Hughes had eight points to lead the Bears.