By N. Waddell
Whether the Christmas holiday affected them or whether it was the strong aggressive play of the teams they faced at the Phoenix Christian tournament, the Hayden Lobo varsity team did not play the way they have shown they can play.
The first opponent for the Lobos at the Cougar Holiday Hoops Tournament were the Falcons of Veritas Prep Academy. The Falcons, a fast and aggressive playing team on both ends of the court, were just a little too much for the Lobos who exhibited a tendency of playing a notch below their capability.
The Falcons ran to a 16 to 25 lead after a period of play and never looked back on their way to a 49 to 84 trouncing of the Lobos. Try as hard as they could, the Lobos had no answer for the scoring power and rebounding of the Falcons.
Julian Gomez was the leading scorer for the Lobos with Adrian Ochoa hitting for 11 points and Michael Rabago for 10 points. Marcos Gonzales had eight points, Matt Martinez three points and Rodney Ortiz had two points.
The next day the Lobos faced a familiar team in the San Tan Foothills Sabercats with new players taking the place of several starters because of discipline problems. The Lobos, who had defeated the Sabercats twice in a Tucson tournament, continued to dominate the shorter but fast Sabercat team. The Lobos, behind balanced scoring from the team, took a 14 to 6 lead after a period of play and increased their lead to 29 to 14 at the half time break.
It was a good thing that the Lobos broke out to a strong lead in the first half because the Sabercats came out strong in the second half playing the Lobos to a draw in the third and fourth quarters giving the Lobos a 58 to 43 win. The win gave the Lobos confidence going into the next day’s contests against two very tough teams.
Their next day had the Lobos against the powerful Bearcat team from Ray High School in the first game. The Lobos had no answer for the intense play of the Bearcats, at least for three quarters.
Behind a strong defense that caused numerous turnovers, the Bearcats took a 5 to 24 lead at the end of the first period and increased that lead to 17 to 50 at the end of the first half. The Lobos did not back off; they came back strong in the third period cutting the Ray lead by 10 points but it would be as close as they would get. The Lobos, with Ochoa and Gomez on the bench having fouled out, were no match for the Bearcats falling with a score of 42 to 75.
Marcos Gonzales and Julian Gomez led Lobo scoring with 15 points apiece. Rodney Ortiz had three points with Roman Padilla, Erik Rivera and Michael Rabago scoring two points apiece. Ochoa, fouling out in the second period, finished with one point.
The Lobos, after the disappointing loss to the Bearcats and a long wait for their next game, just plain did not show up for their contest against the Flames of Valley Lutheran High School. The first period was an indication of their desire to play as they watched the Flames break out to a 0 to 17 score after a period of play. The Lobos finally broke into the scoring column in the second quarter but the damage was already done, leaving them trailing by 21 points, 11 to 32, at the end of the half. Things got worse for the Lobos in the second half, with Ochoa not up to par fighting a bad cold and Gomez on the bench early in the third quarter having fouled out, the Lobos were no match for the running style of the Flames finally losing with a score of 28 to 61.
Rodney Ortiz led Lobo scoring with six points followed by Julian Gomez, Marcos Gonzales and Adrian Ochoa with five points apiece. Matt Martinez had three points and scoring two points apiece were Roman Padilla and Steven Lucero.
The loss to the Flames ended their play in the tournament and hopefully gave the Lobos much experience as they continue toward the end of the regular season with hopes of still earning a spot in the state tournament. The Lobos had a tough assignment next traveling to Ray High School to take on the powerful Bearcats yesterday and will return to Lobo Gym on Friday, Jan. 11, for a varsity-only contest against the Eagles of Imagine Prep Schools.