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.”

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at [email protected]