Estancia Bears back on top of Bean Valley Conference Tourney

Mountainair boys take third, Estancia girls place fourth, EMHS girls fifth

BVC CHAMPS! Estancia High's boys basketball team posing with the accoutrements of last weekend's BVC Tournament championship victory. Photo by G. Demarest.

With a fast-paced attack that hasn’t failed yet this season, the Estancia High School boys basketball team remained undefeated by winning last weekend’s 80th Annual Bean Valley Conference Tournament on the Bears’ home court.

The Bears battered their opponents and tallied 245 points during the three-game tourney—including pounding the Menaul Panthers 82-69 in Saturday night’s championship—to recapture the BVC’s traveling golden basketball trophy.

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It was the Bears’ fourth BVC title in five years.

Menaul had possession of the traveling golden basketball trophy for the last year after beating the Bears in the 2017 BVC championship. “We had to get our trophy back,” Estancia head coach Daniel Pierce said, adding, “We executed our game plan to a T.”

The Panthers grabbed the opening tip-off in Saturday’s finale and took a brief 2-0 lead. But 30 seconds later, Reyez Herrera sank the first of his career-high eight 3-point baskets and the Bears never looked back.

Herrera scored 39 points and was 8-for-16 from beyond the arc. “That was my goal, to hit fifty percent. I came in pretty confident about my threes,” Herrera said. He was named tournament MVP.

Estancia’s Drayton Oberg, Cruz Moreno, Zach Abeita, and Mario Prieto received All-Tournament honors.

The Bears advanced to the championship by beating the Mountainair Mustangs 70-42 in Friday’s second round.

The Mustangs came out strong, taking an early 9-1 lead. “Kudos to Mountainair, they showed up to play,” Pierce said.

But the Bears—with the help of three Herrera 3-pointers—outscored the Mustangs 19-2 over the next five minutes and upped their lead to 30 points by the second half.

“We were moving the ball early—playing good basketball,” Mountainair’s head coach Azan Chavez said. “Then, I don’t know.”

The Bears produced the most points they’ve scored all season in Thursday’s opening-round 93-59 win over Monte del Sol.

During the opener, Oberg scored a game-high 23 points, and Abeita made a diving, one-handed, second-quarter buzzer-beating layup from the baseline.

The Mustangs beat the Native American Community Academy 66-34 in their opening-round game, and bounced back from their loss to Estancia by beating Bosque 62-47 in their finale on Saturday to finish third in the boys’ bracket.

Amador Brazil, Cade Brazil and Myles Sheppard received All-Tournament honors. “We have to develop a little more,” Chavez said. “But this was the minimum we wanted—to come out 2-1, get everyone in, and get ready for district.”

The BVC tournament—which began in 1938—also featured Estancia’s girls squad, Mountainair’s girls, East Mountain’s girls, and nine other schools.

Estancia’s Lady Bears beat East Mountain’s Lady Timberwolves in Thursday’s opener 55-38. Estancia’s head coach Travis Watts said the game “was a good team effort.”

It was the first time East Mountain’s first-year coach Bobbi Otero—a 2013 Estancia graduate—had been back to her alma mater as head varsity coach, and said it was “a little weird” going into the locker room that she used to use.

Estancia finished fourth in the girls’ bracket after dropping consecutive 2-point losses on Friday and Saturday: 43-41 to Bosque, and 36-34 to Santa Rosa, respectively.

The Lady Bears squandered leads in both games but “worked their tails off,” Watts said.

Kaitlyn Calhoon and Mariah Aday received All-Tournament honors.

The Lady T’Wolves picked up their only win of the tournament in Friday’s 42-23 victory over Mountainair.

East Mountain lost the finale to Rehoboth Christian 57-32 to take sixth in the girls’ bracket. Ashlyn Simkins received All-Tournament honors.

The Lady Mustangs went winless in the tournament, losing to Bosque 61-38 in the opening round, and Cottonwood Classical Academy in the finale, 32-28.

Mountainair’s Amber Lajuenesse received All-Tournament honors.

First-year head coach Jennifer Vigil said the tournament was good experience for her young team—the Lady Mustangs have only one senior and an eighth-grader.

“We’ve got some talent,” Vigil said. “The girls played hard to the end—the final two games were better, and we were right there in the last game.”