Texico’s Tony Clement is fouled by Mesa Vista’s Kenneth Martinez as he drives to the basket during the first half of a Class 2A quarterfinal game Wednesday at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque. (CNJ staff: Eric Kluth)
By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
ALBUQUERQUE — Texico and Mesa Vista were busy trading baskets when the Trojans’ Kris Martinez took over.
The senior guard scored 13 consecutive Mesa Vista points late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, turning a one-point deficit into a six-point advantage and the Trojans went on to a 69-61 victory in a Class 2A boys state quarterfinal game Wednesday night at West Mesa High School.
Martinez finished with 33 points as Mesa Vista (22-8) ended Texico’s 26-win season.
Senior guard Daniel Perez added 15 points for the Trojans. Meantime, Texico put five players in double figures led by Garett Mayfield, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
Seniors Josh Pena and Logan Brown added 11 each, and Tony Clement and senior Braden Vaughan finished with 10 apiece.
“Most of those seniors have started for me since they were sophomores, and a lot of them played as freshmen,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said. “This is just a great bunch of kids.”
With Mesa Vista leading 33-30 at halftime, the teams traded baskets for several minutes to start the third quarter before Texico jumped in front 40-39 on baskets by Mayfield and Clement.
The lead didn’t last long as Martinez scored the final six points of the third quarter to give the Trojans the lead for good.
His three-point play with 4:36 to go made it 55-47, and the Wolverines never got closer than five the rest of the way.
“He’s our main man at crunch time,” Mesa Vista coach Eddie Campos said of Martinez. “He’s not a one-man team, but his teammates understand (his importance) and they look for him at crunch time.
“I think (Texico) wore down on defense in the fourth quarter, and we were able to extend our lead.”
For the Wolverines (26-3), it was a disappointing finish. After beating nemesis Hope Christian in a regional semifinal game to qualify for state last week, they lost in the finals to Sandia Prep before seeing their season end against Mesa Vista.
“We just didn’t do a good enough job of handling their pressure,” Luscombe said. “We just had too many turnovers.”
And they couldn’t stop Martinez.
“He’s a good guard,” Luscombe said. “He’d get penetration and we just did a bad job of closing out. The thing about it is you can’s simulate that quickness in practice.”