MESCALERO – The start of the District 3-2A season was a rousing success for one Mescalero team, not so great for another, Jan. 22.
Mescalero’s girls continued their success with a 75-19 victory over Mesilla Valley, while the boys came up short in an uncharacteristically hesitant 67-44 loss.
From the get-go, the Chief girls (18-1, 1-0) had control of the game, scoring 25 points in the first quarter to go on a 100-point pace.
They did it with a load of turnovers and layups, and a load of those layups came from the hands of Katelyn Yuzos, who scored 31 points to lead the game.
Fallon Velasquez added 20 points, including four 3-pointers on the night.
Mescalero never really slowed down the offensive attack, as the lower scoring numbers in the second half were due to coach Elmer Chavez’ desire to get more younger players in there and work on offense, as well as a running clock.
“I was kind of nervous, because we had beat Dexter by one, and they (Mesilla Valley) lost to Dexter by just six. So I wanted us to be ready. I didn’t want them to beat us in the first district game of the year,” Chavez said. “We were prepping for them all week, and I think we did a real good job with our press and wore them down in the first half.”
The SonBlazers (7-8, 0-1) got eight points from Makaela Velarde, who also led her team with 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Things get a little tougher for the girls, as they have to make the long trip across the state to face Lordsburg.
“We won the hustle battle tonight, and that’s what I want to do every night. Win the hustle, win the rebound battle,” Chavez said. “They’re starting to realize anyone can beat anybody on any given night.”
Ore than just wanting to win district, Chavez has a personal reason for his girls to win, as he is one win away from 400 as a coach both in Colorado and New Mexico, leading boys and girls teams.
“It’s a good milestone for me, and it would be great for me to get it with this team,” Chavez said. “It’s fun coaching this team, because they work hard.”
Boys lose in sluggish fashion
Mescalero boys coach Adam Herrera couldn’t figure out why his team couldn’t put together a good offense on Monday.
The loss came on the heels of a 47-35 victory over Hagerman, Jan. 20, and a narrow 66-62 overtime loss at Gateway Christian on Jan. 19.
The Gateway game was particularly frustrating to Herrera, because his team had a 10-point lead near the end.
“We still have some work to do, but that’s better to say than this was our best shot,” Herrera said. “We weren’t perfect at Gateway, and we probably should have beat Hagerman by a little bit more.”
As for Monday, the Chiefs (10-8, 0-1) had a 3-all tie following a free throw from Cullen Orosco, only to see Mesilla Valley (13-2, 1-0) go on a 12-3 run and maintain control through to the end.
Hunter Conn, Nolan Nunley and Josh Castillo were all in double figures for the SonBlazers with 17, 15 and 12 points each, which Orosco was the only Chief in doubles with 13 points.
There were moments of greatness for Mescalero – such as a 5-0 start to the second quarter and a buzzer-beating 50-footer by George Rocha to end the first half – but the SonBlazers were just too tall and too fast.
It didn’t help the Chiefs that they weren’t their usual run-and-gun selves.
“We just came out flat,” Herrera said. “We had such a lack of intensity. We went away from that tonight. At Gateway we came out swinging, and we just didn’t have that tonight.”