Nogales boys top Rio Rico 57-48

Nogales boys top Rio Rico 57-48 in rivalry basketball clash
Posted on 02/03/2022
Nogales boys top Rio Rico 57-48

Via Nogales International

The Nogales Apaches fended off the Rio Rico Hawks to take Monday’s boys basketball rivalry game, winning 57-48 in front of a packed and highly animated crowd at the RRHS gymnasium.

Rio Rico went ahead 4-0 to start the game on a pair of scoring drives by Gus Pacheco. But Nogales took control and led 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.

The Hawks came back and the game turned into a see-saw battle. Rio Rico’s Vicente Fuentes made a free throw early in the second quarter, then scored on a drive. His teammate Marco Mora followed with a three-pointer to tie the game at 14.

Estevan Cervantes answered with a three-pointer for Nogales, but Rio Rico’s Job Villanueva connected from beyond the arc to knot the score at 17.

After a timeout and a pair of missed free throws, Mora scored on a layup to make it 19-17 in favor of Rio Rico.

On the next possession, Edgardo Zubiate connected on a long three-pointer from the top of the key to put the Apaches back in front. But Fuentes followed with a spinning drive to give the advantage back to Rio Rico.

A couple of possessions later, Zubiate tipped in a missed shot to give the Apaches a lead they never relinquished. Nogales finished the quarter with a 12-2 run capped off by a long-range, buzzer-beating three-pointer by Cervantes that put the Apaches ahead 32-23 at halftime.

Second half

Each big play in the game was met with roaring cheers from the teams’ respective fan sections in the jam-packed bleachers. But just a few moments into the second half, the action was halted when tensions escalated in the stands between RRHS and NHS students.

After RRHS Principal Hector Estrada took to the court and gave the crowd the choice of either peaceful coexistence or mass ejection, order was restored and play resumed.

Once it did, the Apaches picked up where they left off at the break, rolling to a 21-point lead when Zubiate hit a three-pointer with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. The Hawks then mounted a small comeback to close the gap to 48-34 at the end of the period.

Nogales was up 52-36 when Zubiate scored on a give-and-go from Fernando Valenzuela. But as the Apaches tried to slow the tempo and take time off the clock, the Hawks began to chip away at the lead.

When Jesus Quijada hit a three-pointer with 3:15 left in the game, it brought the score to 54-43. Then after a steal, Villanueva drove and scored to bring the Hawks to within single digits.

With just over a minute left and Nogales having gone nearly five minutes without scoring, Jerman Solis hit a three-pointer from the baseline to cut the Apaches’ lead to 54-48 with just over a minute remaining.

But after a timeout, Cervantes scored on a backdoor cut, and Zubiate hit one of two free throws to ice the game for Nogales.

Zubiate finished with a game-high 21 points for Nogales. Cervantes added 10 and Balta Pacheco and Jose Lopez each had six.

For Rio Rico, Villanueva was tops with 13 points, followed by Pacheco with 12 and Fuentes with 11.

The win for Nogales raised their record to 7-6 in the regular season, though the fell the next night at No. 1-ranked Buena in Sierra Vista. The Hawks dropped to 4-7 overall heading into a home game scheduled for Thursday evening against Walden Grove.

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