It looked like a blowout as the 17-4 Evangel Christian Academy Eagles came out hot and were up by 20 after the first quarter. The Alamo Navajo Cougars fought back and made it a game, but it was not enough as the Eagles won 66-52. The game was closer than the scoreboard showed.

Before the game, Alamo head coach, Lemuel Guerro, talked about the effort his group has been putting in despite the teams’ 6-12 record on the season.

“We’ve been doing the extra work in practice,” he said. “What I mean by that is we are working harder and running more in practice. We want to start winning going forward and hopefully today’s game is the start of that. At minimum, we give them a good game. We lost to them by 30 at the beginning of the season but now when I look at the boys, I see a different team.”

The home team came out on a 9-0 run. Twin towers junior Liam Byrd and sophomore Noah Rush were having their way against the small Alamo defense. Sophomore Jacob Apache was able to finally hit a three to get the team on the board.

Cougars in action.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain

Alamo had a bit of a run in the second quarter led by senior Miles Monte, who scored the first two buckets and hit two free throws. With the Eagles going cold and Apache hitting another shot, Christian head coach Edward Khader called a timeout as he was livid with his team on the sidelines. It was a much closer 11 point deficit at halftime.

The Cougars sophomore JayAthins Apachito came out of the locker room hitting a big three to start the third quarter. Then two big injuries hit the Cougars. Monte went down hard into the wall while fighting for the ball and suffered a leg injury. Minutes later Apache also went down with a leg injury on a tough play.

Alamo tried to go big to combat against the Eagles’ size by bringing in seniors Benjamin Lee and Samuel Guerro. They fought hard, but in the end, Christian was able to hold on for the win.

“I’m not happy,” coach Khader said. “We didn’t play. Our defense was awful, and we didn’t rebound the basketball. We won because a couple of players made big plays, but we didn’t deserve to win this game.”

Despite the loss, the Alamo players held their heads high. Monte, who suffered a hyperextended knee, has faith he will be playing again soon.

“Not sure how to react with this one,” he said. “We played a good game tonight and just need to keep working hard. It certainly hurts tonight. It seems like all the times the teams I’ve played with start off slow but we never stop fighting. We find a way to keep working as a team.”

Monte did not have much time to recover as the team traveled to Mountainair two days later. The team’s next game is on the road against Hondo Valley on Feb. 12.

A District 3 Standings:

  1. Hondo Valley; 6-10.
  2. Alamo Navajo; 6-13.
  3. Mountainair; 2-7.