Owen Geiger, Jake Clarkson, Ryan Aldaz, Gavin Coy, Wesley Stanfield, Mark Cleland, Santiago Espinosa, Joshua Woodson and Mario Maestas. Courtesy photo
The Los Alamos Slam 7th grade boys basketball team completed a double-digit comeback effort on their way to winning the 1st place trophy at this weekend’s Jaguar Jam tournament (Capital High School, Santa Fe).
The victory, a 54-46 final score, underscored the heart and tenacity that these 7th graders possess, as they overcame a 13 point deficit with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The path to victory was a difficult one, as the “reward” for finishing undefeated in pool play was a matchup against the two undefeated teams from the other pool once bracket play began.
In the semifinal game vs. the Santa Fe Thunder, a last second three-pointer by Slam point guard Ryan Aldaz forced overtime. An acrobatic three-point play (foul on a made shot, with a made free-throw) pushed the game out of reach, propelling the Slam into the championship game.
In the championship game, all players provided major contributions: Timely three-point baskets from both Joshua Woodson and Wesley Stanfield. Calm ball-handling against intense full-court pressure by the Flight Elite, from Owen Geiger, Aldaz, and Cody Rosson. Clutch free-throw shooting by Jake Clarkson. Momentum changing three-point plays by Santiago Espinosa and Gavin Coy. Steady post play and rebounding by Mark Cleland. And tremendous hustle and three-point shooting by Mario Maestas.
Indeed, the trophy was earned and won by all, including the steady hand of the coaching staff led by head coach Randy Montoya, and his two assistants, Brian Woodson, and Steve Geiger.
A special thanks to all of the parents, friends, and family who came out to cheer their boys over the course of five hard fought games in three days. The victory at “The Jam” was won well before Sunday, made possible through all of the sacrifices of time and resources each of these people have made over four years of being together.
The Slam program is proudly supported by the Hilltopper Basketball Academy (HBA). The HBA was formed in an effort to help grow our young men and women (3rd grade through 8th) into productive Hilltopper basketball players by the time they reach high school, with an emphasis on fostering character development.