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Ruidoso boys just not in synch

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Page, Ariz. guard Jordan Varner, left, passes the ball against the defense of Ruidoso's Aldo Cardenas, Dec. 28, during the first round of the Striking Eagle Native Ameirican Invitational at UNM's Johnson Gym in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE – Ruidoso boys basketball coach Billy Page felt his team didn’t look much like a 7-2 squad when they fell to Page, Ariz. in the first round of the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational, Dec. 28.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Josiah Polendo, right, puts up a jump shot over Robert Smith of Page, Ariz., Dec. 28, during the first round of the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational at Albuquerque.

He didn’t even feel they looked like a 2-7 team.

“We just didn’t seem to be in synch at all as a team,” Page said. “We were making poor decisions on the offense with our shots, not getting the ball where we needed to. We weren’t trusting each other.”

After a competitive first quarter, the Warriors (7-3) faltered in a 65-50 decision to the Sand Devils.

Ruidoso’s normally dead-eye shooting was off. So was their passing, and defense, and just about everything.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Juan Aguilar, center, is fouled by Jonah Larson, left, of Page, Ariz., while Sand Devil Jonah Holiday defends the shot, Dec. 28, at the Striking Eagle Invitational in Albuquerque.

Page didn’t quite understand it.

“We had just one touch in the post in the first half,” Page said. “It was a much better second half, but we had some desperation.”

While the Warriors recovered a bit in the fourth quarter, they played with a sense of panic, and all Page (6-3) had to do was be patient on offense as the clock ran out.

Josh Romero put in 14 to lead Ruidoso, but every point came in the second half. His performance was a far cry from the 50-plus game he had against West Las Vegas in an overtime thriller two weeks before.

But it wasn’t just him that was off. There were plenty of players for the Warriors that should have had better nights, on both ends of the court.

The Sun Devils, for their part, were a strong team, led by Justin Salabyie and his 19 points.

“They’re no slouches, by any means,” Page said. “They put us in a situation that made us uncomfortable and had many more uncharacteristic turnovers out of people that are normally pretty solid.”

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