The first half was Archibeque.
The second half was Archibeque.
Even halftime belonged to Archibeque.
In a sparse early Thursday evening crowd listed at 324 fans, at least a handful in attendance shared the surname Archibeque.
Fort Lewis' big man scored a half-high 11 points in the first 20 minutes, then added another 10 in the second half for a game-high 21 points. He went 8-for-9 from the field, 5-for-7 from the free throw line, and the 6-foot-9, 255-pound center from Cortez added six rebounds in the Skyhawks' 46-point victory.
"It's good to be home," said Kirk Archibeque, who won a state championship his senior year at Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2002.
"It's nice to play in front of family."
Archibeque entertained family and friends alike with Fort Lewis' 106-60 nonconference victory against Northern New Mexico on Thursday night at Whalen Gymnasium, the Skyhawks' first game in the new year and final game in their nonconference schedule.
Success found Archibeque's dad, Bob, as well.
Bob Archibeque and Kirk's younger brother, Jake, bought a handful of Frisbees for Fort Lewis' Young Life halftime charity competition. The idea is to throw your Frisbee from one of two sidelines and land it on the Coca-Cola banner that rests at midcourt.
The elder Archibeque bounced his floppy disc off the hardwood and landed it on the banner. He won a hammock. His son, Kirk, who four weeks ago became a dad of his own to Leah Faith Archibeque, then perched his easy chair in the paint to help secure the blowout victory.
Fort Lewis, one of the top teams in Division II basketball, improved to 12-3 overall.
Northern New Mexico, a first-year program in NAIA, dropped to 1-14 overall.
"They're a brand new program," Skyhawks coach Bob Hofman said of the Eagles from Española. "They're trying to do things the right way. It's nice to have a program nearby that we can continue to play for years. They'll get better."
It took less than 4 minutes for Fort Lewis to secure a double-digit lead.
DeAndre Lansdowne ran the fast break, fed the big man, and Archibeque was fouled on his one-handed dunk down the lane. He converted the three-point play, and Fort Lewis led Northern New Mexico 14-4 with a little more than 16 minutes to play in the first half.
Fort Lewis' reserves entered the game shortly thereafter.
"There's nothing like playing time to stay in shape," Hofman said. "That's important for us, for a lot of these kids to get a chance to play, and everyone that played showed they were ready.
"I was particularly impressed with Connor Drumm. He played really well, and that's not easy because he's been stuck behind a lot of seniors. He showed he's ready to contribute if given the chance."
Drumm, from Avon, had six points, five rebounds and three assists in 10 first-half minutes. All six of his points came at the rim from all three of his offensive rebounds.
"Some of the guys that don't get much playing time, played," Drumm said. "So that was nice."
Archibeque led six Skyhawks in double figures, two of whom came off their bench.
Kit Hensel scored 12 points, including a pair of 3s, and Drumm finished with 10 points as the Skyhawks' bench outscored the Eagles' three-deep 47-8.
Tayler Faust had nine points on three 3s, Kyle Behrens seven, Ryan Yates six and Mark Jeranko three.
Lansdowne finished with 14 points, Trent Bowman 11 and Jordan Brooks 10 points and 11 rebounds, his RMAC-tying fifth double-double this season. (Archibeque and Western New Mexico's Devin Stewart also have five double-doubles this season.)Fort Lewis, 3-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, will host the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs at 8 p.m. today, the second game of an RMAC doubleheader at Whalen Gym. The FLC women, ranked 13th in the nation, will host UCCS at 6 p.m.
"I respect this program as much as any program in the conference," Hofman said of UCCS, 2-9 overall and 2-1 in the conference. "Coach (Russ) Caton does as good a job as anyone in our league; they are as well coached as any team in our league.
"They push the ball better than we do. I'm a little concerned about our transition defense keeping up with them," Hofman said.
Tonight's game ushers Fort Lewis into the second half of its season, the second 15 of its 30-game schedule are all RMAC games.
"It's serious now," Archibeque said. "Every game matters now." [email protected]