By Eric Butler
Basketball: Back-to-Back Landmark Nights
Both Jim Murphy and Terry Heisey have been at the same school for their entire head coaching careers. In fact, when Murphy married Heisey's sister, they became part of the same family. At the Hope Christian Invitational over the weekend, on consecutive nights, their Huskies teams earned them milestone victories.
Heisey, the Hope girls coach for 15 years, got his 300th coaching win. The next day, the Hope boys got 25-year head coach Murphy his 500th career victory.
"I guess I couldn't have scripted it any differently. I knew Santa Fe was going to be tough and to come down to a shot by a sophomore, I couldn't be any prouder of our team," said Heisey, after a celebration filled with green, yellow and white balloons. "I guess somebody (Hope player Chelsea Davis) blew up 300 balloons. I didn't know any of this was happening."
Heisey's big win came in the semifinals of the tournament as his Huskies beat Santa Fe Indian by a 35-34 count when sophomore Andrea Torgrimson hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds left.
"This was a big game and we usually lose the big game. It was like, we gotta win this one, we gotta win this one," Torgrimson said.
Hope Christian's then girls topped off the experience by beating West Las Vegas 72-68 in overtime to win the championship on Saturday (Jan. 13).
A 3-pointer by Torgrimson was a good start to OT for Hope Christian (12-2), ranked third in Class 3A. It was even better for the Huskies when Torgrimson grabbed an offensive rebound on Hope's next possession and put back in a basket for a five-point lead.
"I guess we could call her a clutch player. She seems to thrive in stressful situations and she showed that again tonight," said Terry Heisey of Torgrimson, who finished with a game-high 27 points.
The sophomore's baskets forced second-ranked West Las Vegas (11-5) to play catch-up during the extra period - something Lady Dons' senior Vera Jo Bustos proved particularly adept at. Bustos, who finished with 24 points, scored all eight of her team's output in overtime.
With a 71-68 advantage, and West Las Vegas in possession with less than 15 seconds remaining, Hope Christian deliberately fouled Valerie Trujillo and sent her to the line. Trujillo missed the two free throws, the second one deliberately, and the Huskies secured the title game win with another foul shot.
"I have never fouled anybody on purpose with a three-point lead, but we decided to because she was killing us," Heisey said.
The night was only beginning for the Hope faithful as the boys championship game followed.
A championship game victory for Hope Christian was fairly quickly secured as the Huskies took command early and cruised to a 63-34 victory over Navajo Pine.
Then the celebration began for Murphy's 500th. Earlier in the week, La Cueva's Frank Castillo got his 500th victory in a 62-47 Bear's win over West Mesa. Only two weeks before, Clovis girls coach Miles Watters reached the same plateau.
Murphy on Saturday became 12th state prep coach to get to 500 and players from his seven state championship teams took the court to honor him.
"I appreciate the attention and we're just glad to win the Hope tournament. I've been around a long time, and I do appreciate it," Murphy said. "You know, we did have a tough game tonight and I kind of got onto the guys at halftime, so I'm glad we came out of this with a 'W' ''
The day after Heisey got his 300th, Murphy pointed out yet another connection between the two men.
"My first championship was with coach Heisey, he was on my 1985 team- that's a black-and-white photo of us up there- and now he's my brother-in-law," said Murphy, pointing to one of many championship teams commemorated on the gymnasium wall.
"There was a number of kids from all the different teams here tonight. Of course, I've been around for them all, but it's the kids that win the games. I just put them out there."
Swimming: Washington, N.M. State Champs Duel
Academy's boys swimming team ran into a squad just about as young and talented as itself on Saturday. No, not many New Mexico squads are equal to the Chargers, but Mercer Island High from Washington gave Academy a run for its money.
At the Academy Invitational, the host Chargers edged their northwestern guests by a total of 899 to 887 while no other boys team got more than third-place Rio Rancho's 463 points. Academy also won the girls competition by gathering 692 points while second-place Los Alamos (681 points) was in striking range to the very end.
Mercer Island didn't send a girls squad, but the boys team won the Washington state swimming meet a year ago.
"It's nice having some different competition, being able to race against some different guys," said Academy's Preston Feinberg, who won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. "Dave (Barney, Academy's coach) had told me that they won state and that helped get us motivated."
The Chargers' boys victories on the day included sophomore Elliot Feng's win in the 100-breaststroke. For Mercer Island, soph Murray Longbotham won the 200-freestyle and anchored a pair of relay victories.
"We were looking for a travel meet and had a great time when we came down here three years ago," said Mercer Island coach Jeff Lowell, who said that his team members raised funds to make the repeat trip to Albuquerque. "I knew this meet was one where we'd be able to swim fast, because the pool is very good."
Herbie Behm of St. Michael's won a pair of events, the 50-freestyle and the 100-free, beating Mercer Island swimmers to the wall both times.
"I saw (Longbotham) swim the 200-free and he looked good. I knew he'd be fast in the last part of the 100," said Behm, who was joined in the winner's circle by Sandia Prep's Mack Puhl - winner of the 100-butterfly.
In the girls meet, Academy's Kendra Stern dominated in winning the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events while Los Alamos' Kara Leasure was a double-winner in the 200-IM and 100-butterfly.
It was the first time for Leasure swimming the butterfly race this season.
"Mostly, I'm more of a distance swimmer," Leasure said. "But the fly has been feeling real good to me lately."
Other winners for the girls included Rio Rancho's Hope Hoover in diving and St. Mike's Katie Behm in the 200-yard freestyle.
Wrestling: Rio Rancho Rolls at Joe Vivian Classic
In perhaps the strongest meet thus far competed this season, Rio Rancho took overall top honors in a 30-team meet at Cibola on Saturday. With wins from Louis Trujillo at 119 pounds, Max Ortega at 130 and Vicente Varela at 135, the Rams accumulated 229 points - well ahead of second-place Farmington (156.5 points) and third-place Belen (146).
Defending Class 5A champ Eldorado was fourth with a total of 135.5 points as the Eagles had a couple of individual championships with Tyler Davy at 140 pounds and Austin Baucom at 189. Against bigger schools, Class 3A Robertson, with individual champs like Daniel Martinez (103 pounds) and Jake Martinez (152 pounds), acquited itself well by taking fifth overall.
Albuquerque High, which finished sixth at the Joe Vivian Classic, also had two winners - Jordan Santiago at 112 pounds and Seth Chavez at 125.