La Cueva's big fourth quarter propels Bears over Atrisco Heritage

Mar. 13—For three quarters — and change — there was almost nothing to differentiate between La Cueva and Atrisco Heritage.

This was not true in the fourth quarter.

La Cueva did most everything right when it mattered most, and a 12-0 run that lasted nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter sealed both teams' fate as the fifth-seeded Bears eliminated No. 4 Atrisco Heritage 80-70 in the Class 5A boys quarterfinals at the Pit on Wednesday afternoon.

The Bears (22-9) play No. 1 Volcano Vista or No. 8 Santa Fe at 8:15 Thursday night in the semifinals.

Nearly three months ago, Atrisco Heritage scored a season-high 106 points on the Bears and won by 30. Making Wednesday a 40-point move in the other direction for La Cueva.

"We know we didn't play our best basketball our first (game)," said La Cueva junior power forward Daniel Lovato, who had a team-best 21 points and also grabbed eight rebounds for La Cueva. "We were excited to get out and show what we could do."

In a game that featured a high quotient of ebb and flow, La Cueva flowed at just the right time.

The Jaguars (22-9) were leading 59-56 less than a minute into the fourth quarter, but La Cueva scored the next 12, which in essence determined the outcome.

Dylan Chavez's two-handed dunk started the run. And he rattled home a long 3-pointer from the top of the key moments later as La Cueva took a 61-59 lead.

"I think it got us going," Chavez said of his dunk. "After that, we were like, hey, we can do this, it's time to go."

Lovato added a three-point play and a short jumper to cap the 12-0 run, which ended with the Bears leading 68-59.

This was part of a fourth quarter in which La Cueva not only outscored Atrisco Heritage 26-12, but outshot them in the fourth quarter (58.3% for La Cueva to 22.2% for the Jags) and, perhaps most critically, outrebounded Atrisco in the fourth quarter. The Bears, perhaps 5A's tallest roster were especially effective on the defensive glass, limiting the Jaguars to one shot nearly every time down the floor.

"We knew winning the rebounding battle would win us the game," Atrisco coach Steve Heredia said. La Cueva won that 36-29 overall, and 14-8 in the fourth quarter.

"I thought we were a little overzealous attacking the rim," Heredia added. La Cueva's size was an issue, too.

"Their length really bothered us," Heredia said.

Junior guard Latavious Morris led all scorers with 30 points to pace the Jaguars, capping for him a great season. Marquise Renfro added 23 points and eight rebounds.

For La Cueva, Eric Jacobsen had a double-double, with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Chavez finished with 15 points and six assists. And Brandon Bartlett, a player La Cueva coach Eric Orell said is extremely important to the Bears' success, had 14 points and five boards.

It was 68-59 before Atrisco Heritage ended a 4 minute, 40-second scoring drought with a Kadarius Sims' 3-pointer. However, La Cueva was rock solid in closing out the Jaguars.

Looking ahead to Thursday, La Cueva lost games to both Volcano Vista and Santa Fe in the regular season. Of course, Orell pointed out with a smile, the Bears also lost games to Eldorado and Atrisco Heritage in the regular season, and La Cueva has done some avenging in the first two rounds of these playoffs.

Orell said about Thursday's semifinal stage, "It's something these kids are ready for."


LA CUEVA (22-9): Cam Dyer 6, Daniel Lovato 21, Brandon Bartlett 14, Eric Jacobsen 14, Dylan Chavez 15, Tre Cowles 5, Demitri Idinopulos 3, Jojo Sanchez 2. Totals 27-53 20-26 80.

ATRISCO HERITAGE (22-9): Latavious Morris 30, Marquise Renfro 23, Kadarius Sims 10, Alexavier Crawford 2, Dean Session 2, Andrez Santillanes 3. Totals 23-57 18-25 70.

La Cueva 20 14 20 26 — 80

Atrisco Heritage 20 17 21 12 — 70

3-point goals: LC 6-13 (Chavez 2, Jacobsen 2, Cowles, Idinopulos); AHA 6-17 (Morris 4, Renfro, Sims). Rebounds: LC 36 (Jacobsen 13); AHA 29 (Renfro 8). Assists: LC 19 (Chavez 6); AHA 12 (Morris 5). Total fouls: LC 16; AHA 21. Fouled out: AHA, Mathias Sanchez.