LAS CRUCES – It’s only December, but don’t tell high-senior Deuce Benjamin of Las Cruces that.
Benjamin was on the pitch in a dominant 74-49 win over Cleveland on Saturday at LCHS in a rematch of last year’s school state title game, won by Cleveland at The Pit in Albuquerque.
“It was more than a normal game because they took the ring away from me,” said Benjamin, who scored 34 points on Saturday. “It was a game of revenge for me so I’m just happy to get out of here and beat them by 20 or more.”
It was certainly a different Cleveland team than the group that beat Las Cruces 55:49 in the state title game in May. But the storm weathered a quick start from Las Cruces to stay within nine at halftime.
Cleveland cut it to six points when Elijah Brody hung up early in the third quarter, but the Bulldawgs beat Cleveland 16-2 for the remainder of the third, taking them 57-36 ahead.
Bulldawgs center Isaiah Carr had 14 points and David Cruz hit two 3-pointers and finished with eight points.
The Bulldawgs begin the district game on January 4th, but aside from a district annoyance, their toughest test to the state tournament is a game on January 11th at 9-1 Hobbs.
Despite the hot start, Las Cruces coach William Benjamin said there was still room for improvement.
“I think we’re doing a good job of playing at a high level,” said William Benjamin. “But we still have a long way to go in execution. We didn’t get our offensive well in the second half and Cleveland had a lot to do with their pressure defense.”
Las Cruces girls share the weekend games
The Las Cruces Girls defeated Cleveland 53-41 on Saturday at LCHS. Emma Christiano led the Bulldawgs with 26 points, Adri Valles scored nine points and Jaci Powers scored eight points.
The Las Cruces girls lost to Carlsbad 49:35 on Friday, with Emma Christiano leading the Bulldawgs with 18 points.
Las Cruces Wrestling ranks second in El Paso
The Las Cruces boys wrestling team finished second in Saturday’s El Paso Eastwood Duals and the girls finished third.
The Las Cruces girls defeated Pebble Hills and lost to El Paso Franklin in the semifinals before beating Socorro in third place.
The Bulldawgs boys beat Centennial and Pebble Hills to make it to the finals and lost to El Paso Eastwood.