By Raymundo Frasquillo
DUNCAN – Duncan headed to “The Land of Enchantment” on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest with the Cliff Cowboys, capping the first day of the six-team, three-day Cliff Round-up. The final round is Saturday, Dec. 2, at 1, 2:30, and 4 p.m.
Other participants include New Mexico teams, the Bayard Cobre Indians, the Lordsburg Mavericks, and the Cliff J.V. Cowboys; along with the Mexico Academia Juarez Lobos.
Duncan’s next home game is with the Winkelman Hayden Lobos on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
The 1-1 Wildkats opened their 2018 campaign in New Mexico against the Animas Panthers Nov. 21, leaving with a 34-46 loss, and came back to top the Superior Panthers 43-32 in Duncan on Nov. 28.
Duncan – 43, Superior – 32
Senior Braden Basteen hauled down a missed shot, put it back up, and gave the host Wildkats a 27-26 edge over Superior with 29 seconds elapsed in the final period. The Wildkats outscored the Panthers 14-6 during the final eight minutes en route to an 11-point win.
Basteen totaled a team-high 14 points for the night, making six field goals plus 2-2 free throws.
“He’s a senior,” head coach Eldon Merrell said. “By now, he can either step up or sit down.”
The three-year varsity team member stepped up, as did junior Wesley Conyer, junior Michael Lennon, and sophomore Chris Smith with four, two, and two fourth-period points, respectively.
Duncan enjoyed a 20-13 advantage with 50 seconds elapsed in the third period, but a 13-0 run over the ensuing 5:47 gave the visitors a 6-point, 26-20, swing. The Wildkats led 6-3 following the opening period and 18-13 at halftime, yet trailed 26-27 heading into the final period.
On the night, Duncan had 19 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-14 free throws compared to 11 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 8-19 free throws by Superior.
Lennon contributed 13 points on six field goals (one 3-pointer), sophomore Steven Pierpont six, Conyer four, sophomore Cliff Hansen three, Smith two, and freshman Nathan Kempton one.
Steven Ybarra paced the Panthers with a game-high 20 points on six field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 7-10 free throws. Dominic Hernandez and Kale Major both added three points, Andrew Martinez and Matthew Perez two apiece, and Jerry Moreno one.
Animas – 46, Duncan – 34
Duncan narrowed the 10-point, 5-15, opening period deficit to four, 18-22, at halftime, but 2 third-period points were not enough to take the lead. The host Panthers added 9 to lead by 11 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Wildkats mustered 14 fourth-period points as did Animas, yet needed 25 to tie and 26 to win.
Duncan totaled 11 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 10-21 free throws compared to 13 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 17-29 free throws by Animas.
Lennon tallied 10 points on four field goals plus 2-2 free throws before picking up a fifth foul. Basteen netted 1 point prior to falling out.
Senior Joseph Malinaro added 8 points, Conyer and Smith 5 apiece, sophomore Lucas Basteen 3, Pierpont 2, and Hansen 1.
The rest of the Wildkats’ varsity squad includes three-year members and seniors Matthew Basteen and Kade Stacy, junior Jay Garner, and freshmen Jarrett French and Tommy Hill.
For Animas, Brian Garcia had a game-high 21 points on five field goals plus 11-17 free throws. Teil Swift added 7 points, Jimmy Moreno 5, John Holder and Cody Moore 4 apiece, Patrick Lasher and Ty Wagley 2 each, and Oscar Uren 1.