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Hardt and Mauritsen come up big for Artesia

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ARTESIA — Senior Chaney Hardt and junior Kale Mauritsen scored in double figures Saturday to lead the Artesia Bulldogs (19-7) past the Lovington Wildcats (14-15) to claim the District 4-5A postseason tournament title.

Hardt had 22 points and Mauritsen had 11 as the Bulldogs won 48-39.

“They put a lot of pressure on those guys,” said Michael Mondragon Artesia’s head coach.

“It’s hard to run that much offense when you have that much pressure, we know we’ve got guards that can get to the rim and they decided to get the rim until you stop them, we’re going to do that,” he added.

Both had four points in the opening period as Artesia led 10-9.

The Wildcats kept both quiet in the second period and then in the second half both went to work.

Both had four points from the floor and Hardt launched a long range shot in the third period as the Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats 13-8 and led 30-25 at the end of the quarter.

At halftime the score was tied at 17.

In the fourth quarter, Lovington fouled Mauritsen and Hardt with plenty of frequency.

Mauritsen was of 3-6 from the foul line in the final stanza while Hardt was 5-8 from the charity stripe. Hardt also had two field goals in the fourth period.

The Bulldogs now await for the New Mexico Activties Association to make their selections for the upcoming state tournament. Where does Mondragon see Artesia next weekend?

“I’m a little biased I think we should be a four (seed),” he said. “We’re regular season champs and we’re district tournament champs, we’ve had a tough schedule. I think were a four, a lot of people are going to put us at five. We should be a four,” he said.

Lovington was led by senior Alijah Ballard with 20 points. In the final period it appeared he was putting the Wildcats on his back trying to be the workhorse for the team.

He had four points from the floor in the final period and was 6-8 from the foul line. Senior Gage Sandoval had 7 for the Wildcats.

Artesia won the regular season title last week and was the top team in the district tournament and had most of the week off.

The Wildcats meanwhile had to play Goddard and Roswell this week.