Marv Sanders boys basketball tournament
Texas team remains unbeaten, ousts Gallup for title
By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Special to the Times
FARMINGTON, Dec. 20, 2012
When the Montwood Rams come to town for the Marv Sanders Boys Basketball Invitational, they had only one thing on their agenda Ð win.
That is what the 5A El Paso, Texas team did after defeating the 4A Gallup Bengals for the championship title with a 60-45 victory and their eighth straight tournament title.
"(It's) always to win it, we believe we can compete against anybody," Montwood head coach Tony Harper said. "We need to get to the finals to prove it, then we need to win the championship."
With tough defense and a strong offensive game Montwood (13-0) was able to get a couple of steps ahead of Gallup (3-4) and kept it that way throughout the last three quarters.
Harper said he knew Gallup was going to give his team a tougher match but made sure his guys were ready.
"Whenever you play the team we played tonight, a much better team, we had to do a lot of different things," he said. "But fortunately we got away with it."
The Rams first defeated San Juan High, 73-36, then Piedra Vista for a seed in the championship game.
The Rams had a jump start with Gallup leading the Bengals 20-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Gallup head coach Domonic Romero said the key was to keep up with Montwood, which was the plan.
"I wanted to keep the game close, I knew that if it was close we could have a shot at it but honestly that's a tough Montwood team, they had 30 points on just three pointers alone," Romero said. "I felt that if we played defense we would have been in the game, and we did for the most partÉbut when you start the game off eight down I think that hurts us."
Gallup continued to try and keep the score gap small and Montwood knew it.
Harper said Gallup's defense was able to hold their defense from time to time, but only motivated them to push even harder.
"Offensively I don't think we shot the ball as well as we had in the first two games, and they're pretty good on offense and scored on us," Harper said. "We were used to having a 20-point lead not a 10-point lead, but really we play the game zero-zero all the way through."
At the half Montwood lead 35-22, but Montwood changed things up again and Gallup couldn't keep up.
Anthony Davis led Montwood with 17 points while Ruben Lopez added 16 of his own. Lopez and Chris Gamboa were named to the all-tournament team.
Darren Spencer led the Bengals with a team high of 16 points followed by Dominic Martinez with 13 points Ð both were all-tournament selections.
"We got to get a better jump start to our game. I think we're starting off sluggish and then when we realize that the games on the line then we start picking it up, by then it's too late," Romero said. "(It's) not even just this game, throughout the tournament, the other games we've been starting off slow, that's definitely one thing that we need to change."
The Bengals first defeated Fabens, 67-64, and then Farmington, 52-46, in rematch for a chance to play in the championship game.
Harper said he looks forward to returning to the tournament next year.
"We just like the hospitality, we like the people, we like everything about the tournament, we love the gym," he said. "We feel like as long as we keep winning we ought to just come out until somebody beats us."