Posted: 9:58 pm Thursday, February 18th, 2010

After years of academic woes, Carlos Cordero stepping up for Santaluces 

By Jason Lieser

It’s always nice to add a 6-foot-5 post player who can dominate the game at both ends. Seems like that would be helpful for a basketball team.

Santaluces played most of the season without senior Carlos Cordero, but he finally got himself academically eligible and has given the Chiefs (16-7) a tremendous boost.

Cordero played just seven regular-season games, but has practiced with the team all year. In Thursday’s first-round playoff win over Coral Springs, Cordero led Santaluces with 15 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. He shot 7 for 7 from the field.

“He’s finally starting to catch on to what we’re doing,” Chiefs coach Willie Gibson said.

Cordero played on Santaluces’ freshman team in 2006-07, but was ineligible each of the past two years. He worked on his grades last semester and even took some night classes to get himself reinstated in January.

He is relatively thin, but his height and athleticism help compensate for his lack of size. He makes quick moves to the basket and has great touch on his shot.

“I use my length and my arms,” Cordero said. “I’m pretty precise with my blocking and I don’t let anyone get above me. That’s what keeps me in the game.”

He also is comfortable coming off the bench and Gibson seems content to use him in that role.

The Chiefs advanced to the second round, where they will host Lauderdale Lakes-Boyd Anderson. Santaluces now has at least playoff win in each of the past four seasons.