SANTA FE — St. Michael’s used a dominating third quarter to take control Saturday night and the Horsemen notched a 56-44 victory over Clovis High’s boys in the championship game of the Capital City Invitational.
St. Michael’s (4-1) made good use of the free throw line to win, sinking 26-of-37 for the game. The Horsemen went 14-of-22 in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Matthew Barela scored 17 points, including 13-of-17 from the line, en route to tournament MVP honors for St. Michael’s.
Junior forward Dijon Ford and junior guard D.J. Blackman scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Wildcats (3-1), who were the defending tournament champions.
“We weren’t very good tonight,” first-year Cats coach Matt King said. “It’s a learning experience for us, and it’s something we’re going to grow from.”
St. Michael’s led early, but the Cats rallied to tie the score 19-19 at halftime. After taking a brief lead early in the third period, the Horsemen began to take control and opened a 34-25 lead entering the final period.
Clovis cut the margin to 36-30 early in the final period, but St. Michael’s used a 3-point play and a 3-point basket to pull away and then made enough free throws to keep the Cats at bay.
Assistant coach Scott Robinson said the Cats just couldn’t get any rhythm going on offense, adding that the Horsemen are a tough team to beat when you have to play catch-up.
Clovis did not make a 3-pointer in the contest, and went just 8-of-17 from the foul line.
“Nights like that happen, but when they do you’ve just got to play good enough defense to give yourself a chance.”
Junior guard Kameron Romero also reached double figures for the Horsemen, finishing with 14 points.
The Cats travel to Dumas on Tuesday, then will spend the rest of the month at Rock Staubus Gym beginning with games on Friday night against Onate and Saturday afternoon against Alamogordo. The six-game homestand will be capped by the Southwest Dairy Farmers Classic from Dec. 27-29.