Tigers fall to foes, start District 5AAA tourney

By Leroy Chavez — Sports writer

RATON —The Tigers had a tough weekend, dropping district games to Clayton in the Jungle and Santa Rosa on the road. They will travel back to Santa Rosa to battle the Lions in the first round of the District 5AAA tournament on Tuesday (Feb. 24).

“All the marbles are on the table Tuesday, it’s do-or-die,” said Tigers Coach Gilbert San Roman. “If we just play a complete game we can advance. We outplayed them (Santa Rosa) in the second half on Saturday, we just need to play that way from the tip-off.”

<strong>Santa Rosa 65, Raton 42</strong>

On Saturday (Feb. 21), the Tigers dropped their final District 5AAA contest to Santa Rosa in the Lion’s Den.

Santa Rosa blitzed the Tigers 16-6 in the first period, then rode that momentum to a 25-7 advantage in the second stanza to take a 41-13 lead at halftime.

The Tigers battled back in the second half and battled the Lions on even terms knotting the score at 13-13 in the third period. The score at the three-quarter mark was 54-26. In the final stanza the Tigers outscored Santa Rosa 16-11 to cut the final margin to 65-42 at the final buzzer.

“We need to take some of that momentum from the last half and start from there,” said San Roman. “The kids have never faltered in their effort and have never given up. If we just have a complete game you never know what can happen.”

<strong>Clayton 75, Raton 32</strong>

On Friday (Feb. 20) the Tigers lost their final home game of the season to the powerful Clayton Yellowjackets to conclude Tigerfest.

“I noted earlier that Clayton has a shot to win the state championship and they didn’t do anything different Friday to change my mind,” said San Roman. “They are the total package, but I was proud of my own kids. They played hard, have improved defensively and are putting more points on the board and they never, ever give up.”

The lightning-fast Yellowjackets raced off to a 21-8 first quarter lead, then added a 21-6 second period advantage to take a 42-14 lead at intermission.

The Yellowjackets increased their lead with a 22-4 advantage to widen their margin to 64-18 at the three-quarter mark. The Tigers won the last quarter 14-11 to cut the final margin to 75-32.

Jodas Gonzales and Connell Ware paced the Tigers with 8 points each, while Austin Jones added 7, Dillon Lemons and Dustin Segura, 3, and Cole Medina, 1.

For the boys, the District 5AAA tournament starts Tuesday (Feb. 24) with the Tigers traveling to the Lion’s Den in Santa Rosa for a 6 p.m. encounter.

The winner of the game will advance to play Tucumcari on Thursday (Feb. 26), for the loser, the season is over. Thursday’s winner advances to play Clayton for the Championship on Saturday (Feb. 28). All games are slated to start at 6 p.m.

“This is it,” San Roman said. “We win, we advance, we lose, and the season is over.”