Steers' rally falls short

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A furious fourth-quarter comeback fell a little short, and the Magdalena High School boys basketball team missed an opportunity to hand the top-ranked Laguna Acoma Hawks their first loss of the season.

"We had some chances to take the lead, but never could get over the hump," summarized Steers head coach Jory Mirabal.

One of those chances came with the Steers down 55-53 with two minutes to play. Duster Apachito made a steal and got the ball to Rio Chadde, who missed the layup. The 6-foot-5-inch senior got his own rebound but missed again, and in an effort to grab another rebound went over the back of a Laguna player for a foul.

"Rio was pretty upset with himself and threw the ball to the ground and got called for a technical," Mirabal said.

The Hawks made 3-of-4 free throws, then scored another bucket after being awarded possession following the technical foul.

"So we went from having a chance to take the lead to being down by seven," Mirabal said.

That wasn't their last chance, though. The Steers trimmed the deficit and a chance to go ahead as time wound down.

"But we missed a block out on a missed free throw. That was very frustrating," the coach said.

When time finally did run out, the scoreboard read Laguna 65, Magdalena 64.

Though frustrating, Mirabal couldn't help but be pleased with the way his team fought back and nearly knocked off Class 2A's best team.

"I'm proud of them," he said. "A one-point difference between the number one team and the number 10 team… That just shows how much parity there is."

At one point in the second quarter, the Steers trailed by 17 points. They regained their composure and reduced the deficit to a manageable nine points, 35-26, by halftime.

Even after the Hawks extended the lead to 13 points in the third period, the host Steers kept the pressure on and lit up the scoreboard for 27 points in the final eight minutes.

"We were doing a good job of breaking their press, and when we do that we can get the ball inside for some easy baskets," Mirabal said.

Consequently, Chadde finished with 22 points, sharing scoring honors with Laguna guard Anthony Carpio.

Tyler Julian added 12 points for the Steers and Dre Montoya chipped in 11.

The Hawks ended the regular season with a 22-0 record, 8-0 in District 3-2A. Magdalena dropped to 17-7, 4-3, and still has two important games left to play before the district playoffs. They travel to Albuquerque to face Bosque School on Thursday in a game that will decide the district runner up.


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.