Estancia High’s boys basketball team is off to an undefeated start on the heels of two close games.

The Bears held off Santa Rosa 51-48 last Saturday on the road, two days after using a flurry of free throws in the final seconds to stave off the visiting Mountainair Mustangs, 51-47. “This game was closer than we wanted but our guys knuckled down,” Estancia’s first-year coach Daniel Pierce said about beating Mountainair. “I’m glad we pulled out the victory.”

After a slow start that took nearly 5 minutes before either team sank a field goal, the seesaw game went back and forth with 14 lead changes.

Estancia's Reyes Herrera putting up a jumper while Mountainair's Irijah Chavez (23) and Gabriel Salazar defend. Photo by Brenda Tapia.

Estancia’s Reyes Herrera putting up a jumper while Mountainair’s Irijah Chavez (23) and Gabriel Salazar defend. Photo by Brenda Tapia.

The Bears held a 4-point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter but Amador Brazil sank a pair of free throws to put the Mustangs up 46-45 with just over 3 minutes left in the game.

Brazil led the Mustangs with 20 points.

Adam Lujan’s layup with 2:29 remaining put Estancia back on top by a point.

Following a Mountainair turnover, the Bears controlled the clock by passing the ball around for more than a minute before Lujan’s free throw with 46 seconds left made it a 2-point game.

Myles Sheppard’s free throw with 23 seconds left pulled the Mustangs within a point.

Lujan, Drayton Oberg, and Reyez Herrera all hit free throws for Estancia in the final 16 seconds to make it a two-possession game.

“We just knew whoever got fouled had to make their free-throws to put the game away,” Lujan said. He finished with 10 points.

Carlos Parra led the Bears with 11.

“I think [down the stretch] some of our guys got into foul trouble and were being a little too cautious,” Mountainair head coach Azan Chavez said. “But I’m speechless, my guys haven’t played like this all year, I’m proud of them.”