East Mountain High School’s boys basketball team was short a couple of starters during its Feb. 12 matchup against the Sandia Prep Sundevils, but the key reason the Timberwolves lost to their District 5-3A rival was a frosty offense.

The Timberwolves (11-11, 2-4) put up just 4 points in the first quarter and only 6 points in the second stanza in the 56-33 loss.

“We were ice cold tonight,” East Mountain head coach Joe Vigil said.

The Sundevils (14-9, 7-0) led the entire game, starting with a 7-0 surge out of the gate.

East Mountain’s only points in the opening period came on a pair of baskets by Aaron Talamante. He tallied 10 points.

Aaron Talamante trying to work his way around a pair of Sandia Prep defenders.

Trailing 15-4 midway through the second quarter, East Mountain’s Will Merkey stole the ball and fired it to Jose Perea who went the length of the court for a fast-break layup.

East Mountain was down by 12 late in the second quarter when Merkey’s put-back basket off an offensive rebound made it 20-10 at halftime. He chipped in 6 points.

“We just couldn’t put the ball in the hole—10 points at the half, my goodness,” Vigil said, adding, “I thought we played really hard, it’s just we were cold from the floor and we were a little short-staffed.”

One of East Mountain’s missing players was junior post Parker Sweat.

The T’Wolves hit five field goals in the third quarter but by then Sandia Prep had increased its lead to 20 points.

“The shots just weren’t falling,” Perea said. “I don’t know, sometimes you have those cold nights.” Perea led the T’Wolves with 11 points.

An interesting side note was that Perea and his brother Alejandro got to face off against their childhood friend, Sandia Prep senior and Tijeras resident, Atlee Gaddis.

Jose Perea and Gaddis were glued together the whole game.

Jose Perea trying to get around an airborne Atlee Gaddis.

“He’s a good defender, I like playing against him,” Jose Perea said of Gaddis.

“It’s always one of my favorite games to come out here because I can see a bunch of people I know, it’s always fun,” Gaddis said. “Jose and Hondo, we played baseball, basketball and soccer together.”

Jose Perea and Gaddis were teammates on an East Mountain Little League team.

“We were the Mets, he was one of my best friends on the team,” Perea said. “It’s crazy to see how we are down the road 10 years later—about to be adults and stuff.”

East Mountain has three district games left on its schedule, starting with Bosque School Feb. 16.