NMMI Sports Press
NMMI wrapped up the Bronco Classic Basketball Tournament with a 98-61 victory over Northern New Mexico College Saturday, playing close in the first half but coming out big in the second.
“I thought we played a lot better the second half,” said head coach Ralph Davis. “I sincerely thought we did. We turned up the gas a little bit which is encouraging heading into the first (conference) game on Wednesday. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but the good thing is, and I just told the team, we’re 0-0 right now.”
Defense, which has been NMMI’s achilles heel this season, still wasn’t perfect, but was improved.
“Absolutely,” Davis said. “Especially in the second half, we did a good job of sitting down and moving our feet.”
The Broncos (8-5) got two big defensive stops to open the game, going up 4-0 before the Eagles put anything on the board. The rest of the first half saw four ties, and NNMC led twice during a back-and-forth series in the middle of the stanza. But NMMI slowly pulled away, taking a 38-32 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Institute slowly but surely padded their lead. going up by 10 with 14:37 remaining in the game; by 21 with 5:12 left and by 34 with less than two minutes remaining. Then, with one minute showing, the Eagles fouled and drew two technicals from the bench, giving the Broncos six straight chances at the line. They went 6-of-6, getting their biggest margin of the entire game, at 98-59 before Northern New Mexico closed out the scoring with a pair of shots at the line.
The Broncos weren’t as hot in the shooting department as they have been — they were 7-for-22 from outside the arc, only the third time this season they’ve shot less than 10 treys in a game — but they made up for it with improved defense and rebounding.
Nehemiah Mabson was big man for NMMI, picking up 23 points and seven rebounds. DeMarco Enoch had 18 points and Chancellor Ellis 12.
The only Eagle in double figures was Jermaine Wilkins, the point guard who picked up 18 points.
Except for a Jan. 2 non-conference game against Ft. Carson, the rest of the season is all WJCAC play. NMMI opens the conference at home Wednesday against Frank Phillips, and Davis is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a brand new season. Brand new opportunities,” he said. “I know we’re picked last, but that means absolutely nothing. We’ve still got to go out and play basketball. So we’re very excited going into this game. We wish we would have had a seven-game winning streak going in, but as it is, we’ve got the one. But it doesn’t matter any more. We’re 0-0 and trying to get back to the playoffs like we did last year.”
Howard College 83, Fort Carson 68
Howard College never trailed in its match vs. Fort Carson Saturday in the third game of the Bronco Classic basketball tournament, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort by the military team.
The Hawks led by as much as 21 in the first half — going up 13-0 before allowing the first Army points — but Carson cut the lead to 41-30 at the half.
The Army squad came out on fire in the second half, cutting the WJCAC team’s lead to two about five minutes in on two free throws by Demitrius Nixon. After that, the game went back and forth like a slinky, with Fort Carson again closing to within two, but unable to get a lead or tie.
Down by 14 with a little more than a minute left, the Army squad tried fouling, but Howard was solid at the line, going 12-for-13 in the final minute, 15-for-18 total.
Leading the way for Howard was Reggie Oliver with 29 points. Shawn Jones had 19 and Srdjan Budimir 17, along with 10 rebounds. Nixon picked up 26 points for Fort Carson and Lazabian Jackson 24.
NMMI Sports Press
The Bronco basketball team had a rough game against a squad of military employees and dependents from Ft. Carson Army Base Friday, falling 99-94 in overtime in the second game of the Bronco Basketball Classic.
The problem — as it has been all season — was a woeful lack of defense.
“We need to start defending people,” said coach Ralph Davis. “Simple as that. We just haven’t shown, all year, the ability to stop people. We get some good contests, but all it takes is one person to break down and there’s a bucket. We have the physical ability to do it. Now it just happens to be mental.”
The Army took a quick lead on a 3-pointer by Lazabian Jackson, then held that lead until 8:10 remained in the first half when Bronco Taylor Breck put in two give NMMI a 29-28 lead. That edge was short lived as Jackson — who led all scorers with 38 points — put in the front side of a 1-and-1 to tie the game at 29-all.
The visitors went up; NMMI again tied it; and, with 5:50 remaining, took only their second lead, 34-33 on a trey by Chancellor Ellis. But the Army continued their march through Cahoon Armory, getting up by as much as six before closing the half with a 48-44 lead.
The Broncos (7-5) came out a bit more fired up in the second quarter, but couldn’t maintain that intensity.
They went up 49-48 with 18:38 still left in the game when Ellis made another of his seven 3s on the night. They stretched that lead to as much as eight with 5:30 left in the game, but again couldn’t hold it slowly allowing Ft. Carson to battle back.
The Army tied it at 87-87 with 1:25 remaining in regulation, then, despite time outs by both sides, that’s where the score sat at the buzzer, sending the game into OT.
And just like the first half, the Army dominated, never trailing after a field goal by Demitrius Nixon put them up 89-87.
“They’re the best base team there is in this region,” Davis said. “It’s not your typical JV/prep school opponent. These guys are older. A little bit more mentally mature. More physically mature. They played basketball before; probably have some college experience on that roster.”
The Broncos had six players in double figures, led by Ellis with 23 points. Breck had 15; Ahmed Coulibaly and Nehemiah Mabson 12 each; Chaz Lassiter 11; and Rashad Wattie 10. Besides Jackson, Ft. Carson had four others in double figures: Nixon with 19; Damien Terry with 13 and Eddie Stokel with 12.
“They’re a talented team and they did a good job. They came off a long drive and took it to us, so I’ll give them that,” Davis said. “This loss came at a poor time, with us going into conference here on Wednesday, however we have an opportunity to bounce back very swiftly tomorrow and hopefully play the way we’re capable of then put all of our ducats into getting one on Wednesday.”
The Institute will face the Northern New Mexico College JV in the nightcap of the tournament Saturday at 3 p.m., looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger.
For complete results, click here: vsFortCarson27nov15.
Howard College 87, Northern New Mexico JV 46
In the opening game of the mini tourney, WJCAC competitor Howard College took on the Northern New Mexico College junior varsity, with the Hawks getting a 87-46 victory.
Howard jumped out to a big lead and never looked back, but the young Eagles managed to cut a wide Hawk margin to a somewhat respectable 42-21 at the half.
Five Hawks scored in double figures, led by Reggie Oliver, 20; Winston Morgan, 13; Shawn Jones, 12; Srdjan Budimir, 11; and Tolunay Cifci, 10. Jermaine Wilkins was the top Eagle with nine points.
Each year as we approach Thanksgiving, a plethora of commentaries appear concerning the meaning of the day. I would suggest that all the ideas fall into one of three categories regarding what we celebrate on this day. Put differently, there are three Thanksgivings, but only one that matters.
First “The Historical Thanksgiving” recalls the events of 1620 when Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock founding the Massachusetts Colony. Today, we celebrate “The Historical Thanksgiving” by feasting on turkey and all of the fixings believing that the Pilgrims and Native Americans did the same in 1620. Controversy now surrounds this view of Thanksgiving in terms of how the colonists treated the Native Americans, the Pokanoket tribe. In fact, just before the holiday this year, the National Geographic Channel will air a two-part special USA Today headlines as, “Telling the True Story of Thanksgiving.”
The second Thanksgiving, “The Commercial Thanksgiving,” normally initiates the Christmas holiday shopping season (though recently that has begun as early as Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin rising out of the pumpkin patch!) This is the Thanksgiving of the Macy’s Parade, football, and above all Black Friday, which might be better described as Good Sales Friday. We celebrate it by standing in long lines for many hours, waiting for the stores to open so we are first in line to get the specially marked down sale items. “The Commercial Thanksgiving” has been referred to by some as “The Forgotten Holiday” intimating that we have forgotten what we celebrate.
This brings me to the third Thanksgiving, what I will call “The Meaningful Thanksgiving.” This is the Thanksgiving one Native American, D. J. Vanas, referred to when he opined that Thanksgiving can “…be a more meaningful holiday for all of us. Beyond the historic context, beyond the idea that fall was a traditional harvest celebration time for Native people, beyond turkey and beyond football is this: simple gratitude, a sense of awe, that we are blessed beyond words no matter where we are or what we’ve been through on the journey.”
This is the same Thanksgiving President Lincoln proclaimed as “…a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Now, some who read this might ask, “What is there to be thankful for?” given the state of the American economy, the increasing domestic violence and random shootings, the concerns with American education, and the world engaged in conflict if not an actual war, as the President of France put it, on those who perpetuate terrorism.
The answer to those who ask this and would have us believe that our nation is in a downward spiral is that this is not the first time adversity is our unwanted companion. Resolutely, each time we as a nation have been challenged; we have met and overcome the adversity. Doing so has bettered us. For example, this year we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812, which enabled us to finally secure our independence from England. We also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end World War II, which defeated the greatest threat to our values and insured our position as a world leader. I am reminded of the words of Wilbur Wright: “From adversity comes innovations and success for all mankind,” and Lee Greenwood who sings that he is, “…proud to be an American.” Perhaps this Thanksgiving we should change the lyrics so that we all can say: “I am thankful to be an American!”
We should celebrate “The Third Thanksgiving” by remembering who we, Americans all – have been, are and will be – a nation built upon a foundation of values, principles, and rights that establish, guarantee, and protect the life, liberty and happiness of the individual, regardless of origin, makeup, or status in life, and the family, regardless of how defined. Rather than apologize for our efforts and sacrifices to extend these same rights to others in the world, we should applaud them. Lest we forget the young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafza, who was seriously wounded by a Taliban gunman because she demanded that girls have a right to be educated, as educators, we should be thankful for and celebrate the right of education for all Americans.
The purpose of this piece is not to suggest that individuals or families cannot gather to share a blessing, have a great meal, watch their favorite team, and shop until they drop. Those activities have become part of the celebration, and that is OK. But, hopefully, we will pause – perhaps at half-time, or before the meal – to remember that for which we are thankful and, in that way, tell the children the real meaning of the day.
Let me close with this thought. There is a place where what I call “The Third Thanksgiving” is always celebrated, where the real meaning for the day is not forgotten. This year that place celebrates its 60th anniversary. In 1955, the founder told Americans that his construction “…will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and hard facts that have created America. And it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world.” I like to think that those words of Walt Disney capture the meaning of the day and that D.J. Vanas and Abraham Lincoln would agree.
NMMI Sports Press
The Bronco fall tennis season ended on a high note Wednesday with the final fall rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Both the men and women were ranked in the top 10 as teams, with the Broncos seventh and the Lady Broncos ninth.
“Definitely our highest finish in a while, regardless of whether it’s spring or fall,” said men’s coach William O’Connell. “So pretty excited about that.”
Women’s coach Dan O’Connell said the rankings came as a pleasant surprise.
“It really doesn’t tell the true story of why they’re ranking us ninth in the nation, because we only have four girls on our team,” the coach said. “So it’s a little out of focus right now, but based on the great results of our top three girls, two of them who are ranked very high, that says a lot for their ability because we don’t have a full team.”
Individually, Lorraine Banimataku is ranked 16th with Thea Minor in 26th. Lorish Puluspepne is 36th, and the doubles team of Banimataku/Minor is 10th nationwide.
“I’m really proud and happy for our top three girls for getting ranked so high,” Dan O’Connell said. “They’re very good players.”
And, he said, if two players from Africa (Ghana and Zimbawbe) arrive in January as expected — making a full team — the Lady Broncos could go even higher as a team.
“We would be extremely strong, because these two new girls from Africa I know are very good players, so we would certainly deserve a ranking in the top 10 some place.”
On the men’s side, while happy with the team ranking, William O’Connell was a little disappointed with the individual spots, with Herman Abban 25th and Noureldin Adam 35th.
Abban closed out the 2015 spring season ranked 12th, but despite beating the current No. 12-ranked player and winning two tournaments and making the finals in another, he dropped a dozen places.
“It’s just how the cookie crumbles,” the coach said.
As a pair, Adam and Abban have their highest ranking, sitting at No. 8, and since Adam also has a win over a higher-ranked player (No. 10), William O’Connell thinks the ranking will help his players prepare for spring play.
“I think the guys have responded to the rankings well,” he said. “They’re not set and happy with this spot, and they’re hungry to do better. So I’m sure it will provide them the needed motivation over Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break and we look forward to seeing what they can do in the spring.”
A little bit closer to home, in the ITA’s Region II grouping, which includes JC teams from New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, the Lady Broncos are fourth as a team, with Banimataku 7th, Minor in14th and Puluspepne 18th. Banimataku/Minor are fifth in doubles, with Amanda Hawkins and Puluspepne in 13th.
The men are also fourth as a team, with Abban nine, Adam 15th and their doubles pairing at 15th. Julian Hawkins and Dave Romero made the doubles squad in 13th.
For complete rankings, click here
NMMI Sports Press
They had ups. They had downs.
They shot well but trailed at the half. Took a big lead in the second only to lose it as the time ran down because of turnovers. They had a last-second shot to tie the game to send it into overtime, then hung on to win by two, despite giving the Cougars a dozen more chances than they had at the free-throw line.
And all that happened vs. one of the better teams the Broncos have faced early in the season.
“It was great team play, and probably our last real, true test before conference,” said coach Ralph Davis.
NMMI trailed 46-40 at the half, then picked up the pace, getting up by 16 before allowing CCC to come back.
“We tried to take the gas off the pedal,” Davis said. “We just wanted to build some clock and really try to slow the game down. But we ended up losing our mojo and they made some free throws and they got up by two.
The Cougars went to the line 44 times, putting in 20 shots. The Broncos only had 32 chances, and because of all the fouls, Ahmed Coulibaly and Nehemiah Mabson both fouled out, and several other Broncos had four fouls by the time the game ended.
“I thought the refs just called it a little too tight,” the coach said.
The hero of the game — of regulation, anyway, was Chaz Lassiter who hit a floater to tie the game and send it into overtime.
On the plus side, the shooting was good — the Institute was 13-of 20 from the 3-point line — and they rebounded well.
“They still got 30 offensive rebounds, which is way too many,” Davis said. “We turned the ball over down the stretch way too many times, 23, so we were a little careless with the basketball. The big thing that we got killed on was free throws.”
Four Broncos were in double figures: Chancellor Ellis with 28 points; Lassister and Mabson 13 each; and Emmanuel Kema 11.
The victory ups NMMI’s record to 6-4, and with two game left vs. non-DI teams before the start of conference, Davis sounds happy with where the Broncos are right now.
“We appreciate being on a five-game winning streak,” he said. “It’s always good to get victories and get some confidence going and learn in a victory. So pretty excited about that.”