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Son Blazers push by Wildcats in 2nd Half for title

Mesilla Valley wins second title in school history 

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By Glen Rosales

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A large smile creased the face of Mesilla Valley’s Cody Correa Saturday morning.

“Relief,” he said to describe his feelings after the SonBlazers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Tularosa and win the Class 2A State Boys Championship for the second time in four years.

After blowing a big lead in the semifinals last season, then losing on a final-second shot, Mesilla Valley had some serious motivation to finish the job this season.

And this championship erases those bad memories “in a big way,” Correa said.

The top-seeded SonBlazers (30-1) avenged their only loss of the season, which came against the No. 3 Wildcats (21-8).

“I think this one is sweeter,” said Mesilla Valley coach Terry Adler. “After everything that happened, this one is sweeter.”

Yet it almost wasn’t to be as Tularosa had a 34-28 lead midway through the third quarter and was controlling the flow of the game in the sixth meeting this season between the teams.

“We’ve had five simulations for this game and the sixth time was for real,” Adler said.

His son, Scott Adler, had a big impact on the contest, finishing with a game-high 27 points while shooting 3-of-5 from the 3-point line.

Every time the SonBlazers needed a big shot, Adler provided it.

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Correa is their normal big gun, but he was struggling from the field, finishing 3-11 from the field for nine points.

“I kept shooting,” he said.

Still, he knew Correa also knew he had to find other ways to contribute.

“This is the last game, so I didn’t care how many points I scored,” said Correa, who leaped into the stands after the final second ticked off to celebrate with the fans. “So I started setting picks for Scott because he was hot and keeping us in the game.”

The one 3-pointer Correa hit, however, came at a big time.

“Cody only had one 3, but it was huge,” coach Adler.

It came with 1:40 left in the third quarter and tied the game at 35-all, capping a 7-0 run.

Then it was Adler’s turn to start the fourth quarter, as he fueled a 12-1 that gave Mesilla Valley the lead for good. He started it with a drive the lane, with an and-one. The he drained a 3-pointer as he stepped to right to create some space.

After a deep 3-pointer from Greg Patti, Adler knocked down one more 3 to push the SonBlazers to a 49-42 lead.

“To go out on top as seniors is fantastic,” he said.

Since the teams know each other so well and because Correa was shooting so poorly, coach Adler broke out an offense that the SonDevils used during the summer.

“We decided to use Cory to screen at the top for Scott,” coach Adler said. “We don’t isolate too often because we have so many different guys that can score.”

And, fittingly, it was Adler, then Corea, sealing the game.

After Tularosa, who got 18 points from Emery Coleman, had cut the lead to 51-49 with two minutes left, Adler took a drive to the bucket. And with 30.8 seconds left, Corea swished both ends of a one-and-one.

Both seniors, as well as Greg Patti and Marcus Krohn, have been team members for years, so the coach was glad to see them finish up with a title.

“It’s like perfect bookends,” coach Adler said. “First in 2007 and now in 2010.”

BACK TO THE BRACKET

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