The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

Chargers Bounce Back with Double-Digit Victory Over Roundball Rivals

Riley Brown ’24

In a highly anticipated boys varsity basketball game on Tuesday, January 9, Academy improved to an impressive 8-2 record, defeating their nemesis, the St. Pius X Sartans, on the Chargers’ home court.

Undeterred by their previous week’s loss against the Sandia Matadors, the Chargers rebounded, continuing their winning ways. After 32 minutes of hard physical play and strong shooting, the Chargers won the game by a final score of 58-47.

The loss sent the Sartans below .500 for the season with a record of 6-7.

Academy started slow, as the underdog Sartans frustrated the Charger players from the opening tip-off. St. Pius X showcased a formidable defense and kept up with the powerful Academy offense. The score was tied at 11 after the first quarter.

As the second quarter got underway, the Sartans’ offense kicked into high gear as they went on an 8-2 run. St. Pius X aggressively attacked in the paint and drew several Academy fouls.

The Sartans led by six, 19-13, the largest lead of the game by either team.

Then an Academy timeout paid off: the Charger offense and defense suddenly took charge on the court.

Charger guard Justin Mask ‘24 quickly took control, contributing nine consecutive points, penetrating the Sartan defense and sinking precise outside jump shots. The Chargers also ended their defensive struggles, holding the Sartan offense scoreless for the remainder of the half.

At half time the Chargers led 22-19.

Chargers head coach Marcos CdeBaca instilled resilience in his players, emphasizing the crucial role it would play in the remaining half.

“At halftime, I told our guys that it was going to come down to our fourth quarter toughness and defense,” he said.

After the third quarter, it was still anyone’s game with the Chargers leading by just five points, 36-31.

Academy then erupted in the final eight minutes. They had responded to their coach’s words, especially Mask.

Mask continued to dominate the game as he scored 18 of Academy’s 22 fourth quarter points. He ferociously grabbed rebounds and played aggressive but smart defense. Mask showcased his superstar prowess on both ends of the floor. He led his team in three vital categories: scoring 32 points, collecting nine rebounds, and snatching four steals. The guard also made some great passes, setting up his teammates for scores.

After the game, Mask expressed satisfaction with his aggressive play.

“I thought I did a good job attacking and getting to the rim,” said Mask. “I definitely could have taken care of the ball a little better, but overall, I was hunting down my shots and attacking the paint.”

Then he talked about what he thought the team did well together and what they need to work on.

“As a team, I thought we really locked down on defense and rotated well. We know that we always have each other’s backs and trust each other no matter the outcome. Going into our next game, we need to continue to improve defensively and share the ball to get the absolute best possible shot on every possession.”

Forward Joe Jack ‘24 also contributed to Academy’s offense, sinking 15 points and leading his team with four assists.

CdeBaca was proud of his team’s effort.

“They played well. They played like champions. That was a grind-out game, and when it came down to the final moments, we won the fourth quarter, so I’m proud of them for that.”

Then the coach discussed Academy’s next game against Capital.

“We need to work on our shooting. Since coming back from the break, it hasn’t been the same since before the break, so we will continue to work on it. We will put in lots of time and our shooting will get better.”

After the game, Jack was honored for achieving a Charger basketball milestone last month. He is the 11th Academy player to score 1,000 points over his career. The Academy crowd and teammates gave him a nice standing ovation for this monumental accomplishment.

An emotional Jack appreciated the acknowledgement.

“This feels great,” he said. “All my hard work and sacrifice have paid off.”

On Thursday, January 11, the Chargers kept their momentum with a win against the Capital Jaguars 72-60, improving their overall record to 9-2 on the season.

The Chargers will host the Los Alamos Hilltoppers tonight, Tuesday, at 7:00 pm as they aim to build on their recent success.

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    Dean JacobyJan 23, 2024 at 8:00 am

    Good article Austin!

    This is a fun team to watch. They always have a plan and play with intention. They also have the talent where a different player can shoulder the scoring load.