MESCALERO – Even though basketball is a team sport, there’s no denying how much impact one player had on the Hondo-Mescalero boys game in the first round of the Mescalero Holiday Classic, Dec. 14.
These two squads met up in the season opener about two weeks ago, with Mescalero winning handily.
The Chiefs won again on Thursday, 58-48. It was a much more interesting game due to the appearance of Miguel Gonzalez for the Eagles.
“Miguel changes the game a lot. They didn’t have the turnovers that they had in the first game, and we weren’t getting down on a fast break like I wanted to,” said Mescalero coach Adam Herrera. “We did some, but Hondo did a better job of making sure they got back.”
While Gonzalez led his team with 15 points, his impact still wasn’t enough to counteract the height and speed of Mescalero.
The Chiefs like to run, and they were able to wear down Hondo with lots of fast breaks.
In face, the Eagles started making a game of it once they slowed down and ran a set offense.
“We’re a young team, and our mentality is to get back on defense, that’s where we have start,” said Hondo coach Ben Sanchez. “But we played a completely different game tonight, slowing the ball down and running an offense. And Miguel opens things up a lot for us.”
Tommy Lucero also contributed 12 points for the Eagles, while Porfirio Romero had 11 and Thomas Hernandez 10 points.
For the Chiefs, Cullen Orosco had 18 points to lead the game, while George Rocha added 15.
Hondo takes on Alamo Navajo today in the tournament’s fifth place game, while Mescalero is in the championship against Gateway Christian after defeating Capitan in the semifinals.
With the Mescalero girls also getting to the title game, this marks the first time in tournament history both host teams have been playing for a first-place trophy.