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Indians snatch third place from Panthers

Posted: Tuesday, Mar 19th, 2013

The Sanford Indians were the only San Luis Valley team to bring home a trophy from the State Basketball Tournament this past weekend as they defeated the Sierra Grande Panthers 60-49 in the 3rd Place Game on Saturday afternoon. Courier Photo by Eric R. Flores

Courier Sports Editor

PUEBLO—Quickness and a huge third quarter was all the Sanford Indians needed to capture third place in the Class 2A Boys’ Basketball tournament here at Massari Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Indians, who won Saturday’s contest 60-49, completed a 4-game season series sweep over the Panthers.

The win by Sanford was the Valley’s only win on Saturday and the Indians brought back the only trophy from the big dance. The tournament was not all bad news for Sierra Grande as they made waves after their first season after moving up a classification from Class 1A where they were the 2012 state runner-ups. The Panthers eliminated the No. 1 seeded Peyton Panthers in the opening round to set up the All-Valley clash for third place.

The game started off with the Panthers taking an early lead before allowing two 3-pointers, one from freshman Miles Caldon and the other from freshman Chance Canty. As the dust settled on the first quarter, a deep 3-pointer from Elijah Ontiveros and four points from each senior Victor Howard and junior Adam Gomez had the Panthers leading 11-10.

The Panthers kept their pressure up as they went on a 16-point second quarter assault to take a 27-24 halftime lead.

Momentum definitely shifted during the break as a fired up Indian team was led by Clayton Peterson. Peterson scored eight points, including his second trey, as the Indians scored 21 total points. Gomez did what he could to keep the Panthers in it but his 7-point effort in the quarter was not enough and they trailed 45-36 after three.

Larsen scored six points in the final quarter as the Indians were able to outscore Sierra Grande 15-13 in the final quarter prompting both Head Coaches Matt Lucero and Rhett Larsen to give their bench players the final two minutes of the game for some state experience.

Gomez scored 18 points for Sierra Grande while Vigil and Howard each scored eight points. Elijah Ontiveros scored five points while Wakasugi finished with four and Bryan Garcia and Michael Ontiveros each scored two.

Canty led the Indians with 14 points and 10 rebounds for yet another double-double. Larsen scored 12 points while Caldon and Clayton Peterson each scored 11. Faucette scored seven points while Rodriguez and Crowther rounded out the scorers with three and two points, respectively.

The Indians finished the season with a 23-4 overall record and a perfect 10-0 record. They finished the season after winning the Southern Peaks League Championship, a district title and regional championship.

The Panthers finished the season with a 19-7 overall record and an 8-2 SPL record. They finished second in the league standings and second in the district tournament before stunning Heritage Christian for the regional championship.

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