Peñasco boys win in Questa

By Sheila Miller
Posted 2/13/19

The abrupt downturn ended with the game and a final score of 82-55, Peñasco - whose Lucero had a 35-point game.

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Peñasco boys win in Questa


The Peñasco boys' visit Questa Thursday (Feb. 7) was a roller coaster of a game.

Things started out even enough. The Panthers and Wildcats traded small leads during the first quarter. Because there weren't enough girls for a JV game, the boys' varsity game started over an hour before it was scheduled. Even still, Richard Vialpando, father of Derek Vialpando, had made his long drive home from work and was there to see his son's at-the-buzzer shot that put Questa ahead 15-14.

It was anyone's game, and there was even the sense that Questa might come away with a much-needed win after a series of close losses. The Wildcats' main defensive difficulty was containing Panther freshman Elijah Lucero. Whenever he got the ball at the 3-point line, the Panther side of the scoreboard ticked up 3. Still, the Wildcats were on pace to a high-scoring night of the season.

Peñasco kicked it into high gear in the second quarter. Including 17 points from Lucero, the Panthers put 25 on the board during the period. Questa, not to be left too far behind, scored 16 of their own. If they could figure out a way to shut down Lucero, the 3-point machine, they were in it, albeit trailing by more than a couple baskets at the end of the first half.

The Questa cheerleaders, who had already practiced twice that day in preparation for the Demon Throwdown competition Saturday (Feb. 9), were out in full force. For most of the first half, theirs were the loudest voices in the gym. Whenever Peñasco stepped to the free throw line, "R-E-B-O-U-N-D, rebound!" echoed through the Mini Pit.

The third quarter brought a new intensity to an already energized game. The two bleachers of fans that came with the Panthers and the home crowd followed the rising tension on court with a crescendo of sound. By the time there was 1:12 left on the clock, Questa had come back from 46-36 deficit to almost even: 49-47, Peñasco.

The final minute of the quarter saw 8 points, 5 for Peñasco and 3 for Questa, leaving the Wildcats behind by only 4 going into the final period.

Questa opened the fourth quarter with 2 points. A single layup from the Wildcats would have tied the game.

It wasn't to be. Things began to unravel for Questa. While the Panthers gathered 28 points, three Wildcat starters fouled out and two left the game with injuries, leaving Questa unable to keep pace with Peñasco.

Still, even as the final seconds drained from the clock, Vialpando of Questa and Peñasco's Juaquine Fernandez shared a laugh at the free throw line and Vialpando managed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The abrupt downturn ended with the game and a final score of 82-55, Peñasco - whose Lucero had a 35-point game.


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