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Big third quarter not enough for Capitan

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Capitan's Jacob Smith, left, puts up a shot after getting past Tularosa's Dylan Hill, Jan. 25, at Capitan.

CAPITAN – After a very slow start, Capitan’s boys basketball team took off in the third quarter to score 21 points.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Capitan’s Mason Taylor, left, is challenged by Tularosa’s Josh Chavez, Jan. 25, at Capitan.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, It wasn’t enough to counter their sluggish start in a 59-44 loss to Tularosa, Jan. 25, in their District 4-3A opener.

“After last year, I think these guys doubted whether or not they belonged on the floor in this district,” said Capitan coach Justin Foust. “It’s a tough district with tough teams that are well-coached. But they learned tonight that they have no business coming out like they did in the first quarter.”

Capitan (6-9, 0-1 district) found themselves down 17-3 in the first quarter thanks to Tularosa’s pressure defense and three-point shooting. The Tigers just made too many mistakes in the beginning.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Brendan Usery, right, put up 14 points for Capitan in their losing effort against Tularosa, Jan. 25, at Capitan.

By halftime, the Wildcats (9-7, 1-0) were up 34-18 and seemed to be cruising to an easy victory.

But Capitan made some adjustments in the locker room and came out firing in the third. By the time Jacob Smith hit a three-pointer with 56 seconds left in the third quarter, the Tigers had cut the lead to six points.

Smith ended the game with 10 points, while Brendan Usery was strong with 14 points and nine rebounds.

But all that scoring was ultimately for naught, as Tularosa got back on track in the fourth quarter and hit big shots when needed.

Toby Carrillo led the way for the Wildcats with 21 points, while AJ Betanceur cleaned the boards with seven rebounds.

“They showed great heart and character coming back,” Foust said. “We just ran out of gas, and Tularosa played a smart fourth quarter.”

While it’s disappointing to lose in their first district game, Foust said the Tigers have the ability to make this district an interesting one, even with the amount of talent at every school.

“I’m searching for the secret, and we’ll unlock it,” Foust said. “It’s not for a lack of effort, it’s a lack of thinking. But that’s coming. We’re going to be all right for the next three weeks.”

Capitan hits the road on Saturday, taking on Loving.

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