ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – In a state tournament no one will ever forget, the top-seeded Las Cruces boys defeated 2-seed Capital 65-53 on Saturday night to win the Class 5A State Championship.
The game was played in front of less than 100 people at DreamStyle Arena in Albuquerque, a direct mandate from New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham after 13 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Land of Enchantment since Wednesday. Every game of the tournament since Thursday was played in an empty arena.
Playing with an immense size advantage, the Bulldawgs took control with a big run in the second quarter and it carried them through to the championship, the school’s ninth championship and first since 2013.
“I better soak this in, I’m like a sponge,” Las Cruces head coach William Benjamin said. “The last time I was here was 2017 and we lost. So I’m going to soak it in. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s my mom’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, so just an incredible feeling to win on this day.”
The Bulldawgs got 17 points and five assists from Gonzalo Corbalan in the win. Isaiah Carr had 14 points and senior Sal Nevarez had 10 points and 10 rebounds in his final game for the Bulldawgs.
Las Cruces arrived back home on Sunday afternoon and were greeted with a celebration at the school upon arrival.