With time running out in the championship game of the 83rd Bean Valley Conference Tournament, Estancia’s boys’ basketball team had one last chance to pull out a victory against the Santa Fe Indian School Braves.

The Bears trailed for much of the fourth quarter and were down by six points before Dre Moreno’s 3-point shot capped a late rally with :05 remaining in the game to pull within two points.

Then, after the Braves missed two free throws, the Bears inbounded the ball with :03 left.

Moreno got the ball at the top of the key and launched a would-be game-winning 3-pointer just before the final buzzer—but it banked off the rim, and Santa Fe Indian School went home with the 66-64 win and the BVC trophy.

“I just tried to trust my shot,” Moreno said. “I wanted to get the win for my boys, but it didn’t fall, and we lost.”

Sixteen teams from 10 schools, including host Estancia and Mountainair High School, participated in the three-day event, Jan. 6-8. The BVC Tournament, the oldest high school basketball tourney in the state, returned for the first time in two years after being canceled in 2021 due to Covid.

In the boys’ finale, the previously unbeaten Bears traded leads with SFIS several times during the first half.

Estancia was up 47-40 midway through the third quarter, but SFIS pushed ahead 53-49 by the end of the frame.

Moreno’s jump shot with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter tied the score 57-57. But SFIS forged ahead, going up 65-59 with under a minute to go.

“We had them down seven in the second half and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Estancia head coach Daniel Pierce said, adding, “At the end of the day, we didn’t play our style of basketball, we let them dictate everything and we made it super-easy on them—but this team will bounce back, and we’ll just move on from here.”

The Bears breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament with a 78-57 victory over Legacy Academy in the opener, followed by a rousing 94-58 win over Navajo Pine the next day.

The Bears started the matchup against Navajo Pine with a 3-pointer by Roman Moran in the first five seconds of the game and closed out the first half with a slam dunk by Kody Larson.

“My first in-game dunk, I’m very excited about that,” Larson said. Larson scored 30 points in the game.

Mountainair’s girls won their opener against Navajo Pine 38-34 but lost the next day to Cottonwood Classical Prep 42-39. The Lady Mustangs jumped out to an early 10-1 lead against Cottonwood Classical. But Cottonwood Classical battled back to tie the score at halftime and pushed ahead in the second half. Trailing by six points with two minutes left in the game, Mountainair’s Zoey Brazil sank a 3-pointer to trim the gap but that was all the Lady Mustangs could muster.

“I was happy with the way they played, I mean, a few things didn’t go our way, but that’s basketball,” Mountainair head coach Adrienne Bargas said.

The Lady Mustangs lost to Tucumcari 66-37 in their finale.

Estancia’s girls lost their opener to Cottonwood Classical 29-24, followed by a 42-28 loss to Navajo Pine the next day. The Lady Bears’ final game, which would’ve been against Monte del Sol, was canceled.

Mountainair’s boys lost to Navajo Pine 49-44 in their opener.  The Mustangs fell 58-33 to Legacy Academy the next day and lost 57-52 to Capitan in the finale.