In the midst of a tough district schedule, Estancia High School’s boys basketball team could’ve used a walk-in-the-park win Feb. 10 against the visiting Mesa Vista Trojans.
But the Bears (13-9, 2-2) squandered several leads throughout the matchup and Mesa Vista (11-11, 4-2) used a 21-point fourth quarter to hand Estancia a 51-47 defeat.
“This loss hurts us,” Estancia head coach Daniel Pierce said.
From the opening tipoff, the Bears didn’t seem to have their typical sense of urgency as they allowed Mesa Vista to stick around one quarter after another.
“We looked very slow tonight, we didn’t look our normal selves, we just came out flat,” Pierce said.
The Bears hit just two of their 13 first-quarter shots from the field and added a free throw for a lackluster 7-7 tie at the end of the frame.
Kody Larson’s layup early in the second quarter put the Bears up 9-7, but Mesa Vista forged ahead 12-10 a few minutes later.
Andrew Lujan and Xavier Jaramillo knocked down consecutive 3-pointers, Larson sank two more baskets and Carlos Gomez hit a layup to help lift the Bears to a 24-16 lead at halftime.
Nazareth Astorga’s layup at the start of the third quarter gave the Bears their biggest lead of the game at 26-16.
After Gomez sank another 3, the Bears were still up 29-21 midway through the third.
But the Trojans mounted a 9-1 run to make it 30-30 at the end of the period.
Gomez and Larson opened the fourth quarter with consecutive jumpers and Lujan added a layup to push the Bears ahead 37-32, but Mesa Vista tied the game at 41 a few minutes later.
Garret Noblitt’s 3 with 3:30 remaining in the game put the Bears up 44-41; Larson hit a jumper with 2 minutes left to make it 46-44.
After Mesa Vista knotted the score at 46, Astorga hit a free throw with 1:34 left to give the Bears their final lead of the game at 47-46.
Mesa Vista slammed the door with a final 5-0 run.
Larson finished with a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds; Gomez scored 12, and Lujan added 9.
“We came out thinking Mesa Vista was gonna hand the game to us,” Pierce said. “And I’ve told them, I’ve said, ‘You can get beat on any given night, it doesn’t matter who you are. There wasn’t one time Mesa Vista quit tonight, and we did. It was a rough night.”
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.