BOYS HOOPS: Douglas positions for section play while Villalobos breaks 1,000 points

January 28, 2016 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Alejandro Villalobos has 1,005 career points.
(Andy Morales/

Douglas beat Tanque Verde 50-43 Wednesday night in a game both teams probably needed to win to secure a spot in the Division IV, Section II sectional and a shot at the state playoffs.

The top six teams in the section will qualify for the sectional tournament and both teams are fighting for one of those spots. Douglas (4-2 in section play) appears to be in a better position after the win while Tanque Verde (3-4) is on the edge.

The Bulldogs held a 17-8 lead in the second quarter but the Hawks went on a 12-4 run to get to within 21-20 at the half.  Sophomore guard Anthony Gaxiola scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the first half while Douglas senior Alejandro Villalobos scored five of his team-high 18.

Villalobos came into the game with 987 career points and he passed the 1,000-point mark on a deep 3-pointer to start off the fourth quarter. It was scoring mark he was not aware of.

"I didn't know I was that close to 1,000," Villalobos said. "I just came out to play tonight and this game proved we can play if we stick together."

Sam Hastings scored with 5:21 left in the third quarter to tie the game up at 26-26 but Douglas built the lead back up to 31-26. Gaxiola sparked another comeback for Tanque Verde on a 3-pointer and Austin Torres gave the Hawks their first lead (33-31) of the game with a bucket with 47 seconds left in the third.

Gaxiola is the younger brother of former Tanque Verde standout Gabe Gaxiola and his father Mark is the head coach. Instead of living in their shadow, the younger brother and son feels it is a blessing.

"I enjoy it and feel excited to follow in their footsteps," Gaxiola explained. "I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. I've always looked up to them."

Tanque Verde only has one senior on the roster and that lack of experience may have hurt them in the end.

Villalobos erased Tanque Verde's lead with his 3-poiner to make it 34-33 and then a couple of free throws by Chris Galaz gave Douglas a 36-33 lead with 7:06 left in the game. The Hawks made one final push with Dylan Kassman and Gaxiola hitting a pair of 3-pointers to help build a 43-40 lead for Tanque Verde with 3:43 left.

The Hawks went into a stall but cross-court pass was picked off and Villalobos raced down the court to cut the lead down to 43-42 with 2:14 left.

With no shot clock, the Hawks were still in control but another turnover led to a 3-pointer by Galaz and Douglas was suddenly up 45-43 with 1:38 left. Tanque Verde found it difficult to recover from the two miscues and Douglas closed out the 50-43 win.

"We are a young team and I think we are learning how to close out games like this," Gaxiola added. "We are getting more experienced."

For his part, Villalobos feels the comeback at the end was just as the coach designed.

"Our plan was to take it to the basket and then we set up the 3-point shot," he said. "We have to keep going at it."