Basketball: Sundevils come back to win title game

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Coles comes up big late, Gallup upsets Kirtland Central in girls championship

By Mike Cote

It was a long time coming, but now the valley now has its biggest reason to cheer.
The Española Valley Sundevils topped the Goddard Rockets Saturday to win their first ever boys basketball title. Rodney Coles scored eight points in the final 2:43 of the fourth quarter to lift the Sundevils over the Rockets 55-52 to claim the Class 4A title.
Española Valley, Los Alamos’ oldest rival and its District 2AAAA opponent, went to the title game in 2010 as a heavy favorite, but lost to the Roswell Coyotes. Española Valley was the odds-on favorite to win in both 2008 and 2009 as well, but lost in the semifinals of the tournament both years.
This year, as a No. 2 seed, the Sundevils went up against the upstart Goddard Rockets, the No. 9 seed in the tournament, who pulled off three consecutive upsets, including dropping the top-seeded Gallup Bengals in the quarterfinals, to reach the finale.
Goddard led by four points with under three minutes remaining, but a steal-and-bucket by Coles cut the lead down to one possession.
Later, Coles buried a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Española Valley a 49-48 lead. It would hold on to the lead the rest of the way.
The state title is just the second in any sport for the Sundevils. They won the girls cross country title in 1992.

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