Boys Hoops Wins State Title!

AA rolls in the final, winning first championship since 1994.


Brighton Ludwig '25

Cole Conway and teammates celebrate the victory.

Chargers Boys Varsity Basketball Team Nets First State Championship in 29 Years


The Academy Boys Varsity Team reigns as 4A State Champions!

On Saturday, March 11, a 29-year championship drought finally ended as the top-seeded Academy Chargers defeated the 6th seed Hope Christian Huskies 70-39. The lopsided victory capped a stellar 27-3 season for the Boys Varsity. The Championship game marked the 4th time this past season that the Chargers punished the Huskies.

Academy proved to be a powerhouse throughout the entire post-season tournament as they won by large margins against Goddard, Deming and won a nail-biter against Valley in which they won by just two points. Hope was also a solid squad heading into the playoffs, upsetting the number three seed, the St. Pius X Sartans, and coming off a strong win against the number seven seed, the Taos Tigers.

Hope was hoping to defeat Academy to cap off their impressive run, but the Chargers had different ideas.

Academy dominated the Championship game from the opening tip-off. They showed fans at the Pit why they are the best team in their division.

Right from the beginning, the Chargers knocked down their first three shots of the game, two of which were three pointers. After the first quarter, the Chargers led by six points, 19-13.

Although Hope was behind just two possessions, Academy kept their momentum, outscoring Hope Christian in the second quarter and led by double-figures 35-23 at the half.

The Chargers were sharp in their shooting, executed crisp, timely passes and dominated the boards on both sides of the court.

The second half was no different.

The Chargers kept their rally going, outscoring the Huskies 44-16 in last half of the Championship game. The Chargers continued to dominate both on offense and defense and easily dictated the pace of the game.

When the dust settled, Academy had claimed their championship by defeating Hope by 31 points.

Academy guards Kellan Gehres ’23, Joe Jack ’24 and center Andres Rivera ’23 were the three greatest offensive threats throughout the game. The trio combined for a whopping 59 points of the Chargers’ 70 total points.

Jack, who led the Chargers in scoring throughout the whole tournament, finished with top statistics in three vital categories: points, rebounds, and steals. He ended up with 27 points– including 4 three-pointers–8 rebounds, and 3 steals.

“For the team, I thought we shared the ball really well and were able to hit shots and create plays for each other,” said Jack after the game. “I thought we played for each other and it showed. Individually, I thought I shot the ball well and was playing with confidence.”

Gehres and Rivera, both seniors, finished their Academy basketball career in top form, combining for 32 points. Gehres had 15 points–including 3 three-pointers– and 7 rebounds. Rivera dominated the paint as he scored 17 points –his season high.

Gehres spoke about how it feels to be state champions and how the Chargers played well as a team. He was jubilant after Academy won the title.

“The feeling is unreal! To be state champions is an unreal feeling that I can’t explain. We worked so hard to get here and it’s amazing to finally win state. We played amazingly as a team. We moved the ball and hit open shots, but the thing that won us that game was our defense. We only gave up 39 points.”

Gehres also spoke about how he had to overcome an ankle injury to be able to play in the Championship game.

“From not being able to walk Thursday because of my high ankle sprain to starting and playing pretty much the whole state championship, I am happy and grateful that I pushed through the pain and was able to share that moment with my teammates. The trainers and doctors that I saw to get my ankle as healthy as possible were amazing.”

Rivera also explained what he thinks led to his success in the big game.

“I thought I had a pretty game all around. I was in the right spots at the right times and the rest of the guys were doing great driving down the lane and drawing defenders.”

Justin Mask ’24 also made a strong contribution as his 6 assists and 6 rebounds helped set up his teammates to score.

Champion Head Coach, Marcos CdeBaca, who also won Coach of the Year for the 4A District, says he’s proud of his team. He says he pushed his players to their maximum potential and fired them up. He says he told his players that making it to the Pit was the goal, but he exceeded his own expectations.

“It feels surreal to be a state champion,” said CdeBaca. “I’m still pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I thought the team played tremendous defense and stayed together as a team when shots weren’t falling. I thought I stayed focus and intense. I wanted the team to feed off of my intensity and they did!”

Here are some photos from the floor.

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