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Large Warriors crowd no impediment

Bobcats feed off energy, beat Navajo Pine in quarterfinal

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By Jim Goodman

“We like to hear the crowd,” said Hagerman Bobcat Isaac Bejarano about the loud Navajo Pine fans during their win over the 7th-seeded Warriors.

The Wednesday night game propelled the 3rd-seeded Bobcats to another match with Tularosa in the semifinals.

Jump balls almost wore out the possession arrow during the game.

“We’re real aggressive and get a lot of jump balls,” Hagerman coach Anthony Mestas said. “They were tougher than we anticipated; both shooting the ball well and moving the ball well.”

Bejarano had 13 points, one of four Bobcats in double figures. Michael Garcia led all scorers with 26 points, Edward Montoya had 16 and Ryan Gomez 15. Keithan Sandoval led a trio of Warriors in double figures with 16 points while Joshua Poyer had 15 and Timothy Chee 14.

“We’re quicker than we showed,” said Warrior coach Doranci Poyer.

But Navajo Pine did come out quick to score off an inbounds pass and a fast break to take a 4-0 early lead.

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Bejarano hit a 3-pointer and Sandoval countered with a trey of his own.
 
The Bobcats got four points on a single possession when Garcia was fouled after sinking a bucket and Gomez tipped home the rebound. Then Hagerman scored six more unanswered points and was up 23-13 by the time the first quarter ended.
 
The Bobcats pulled away in the early second quarter on back-to-back Bejarano baskets weaving through the lane. Arvin Curley hit a trey for Navajo Pine but the Bobcats were relentless and ended up going into the locker room ahead 42-27.
 
“I told our guys to play off their emotions,” Mestas said. “It was hard to get the ball back in the second half.”
 
But a couple of blocks by Garcia and steals by Montoya kept Hagerman fueled. Poyer hit a lay-up at the buzzer to narrow the gap to 12 points. As the fourth quarter opened, Poyer dove for a ball recovered it and threw down court to Sandoval for an easy bucket.
 
Plays like that could have dragged another team down but Hagerman kept pounding and were up 76-58 until Poyer hit a trey near the end of the game.

“We beat Tularosa by three the last time we played them in the Dexter Tournament,” Mestas said. “I look forward to playing a team we know a little bit. We didn’t know what to expect from Navajo Pine.” 

Bejarano said that their opponents on Wednesday were ,”tougher than a seven seed.”

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