Category Archives: Colt Basketball

Braves best Colts in first round of State

Colt post-man Clay Stroh reaches out to clear a long rebound during the first half of play against Santa Fe Indian School. Photo courtesy of Laura Brown.

NMMI Sports Press

Second half blues plagued the Colts as fourth-seeded Santa Fe Indian School topped No. 13 NMMI, 57-40, in the first round of the NMAA Class 3A Boys’ Basketball State Championships.

The Institute survived nine turnovers in the first half at the Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, as the host Braves had troubles hitting open shots in their own gym. That combined with 12 points from sophomore shooting guard Daniel Xibille, and five points off penetration moves by senior point guard Hector Reyna, allowed NMMI to build up to a seven-point lead midway through the second quarter.

But SFIS finally got their offense back on track, hitting the last two buckets before halftime, to cut NMMI’s lead to three, 27-24.

The Braves continued the run as the third period started, posting the first five points and taking their first lead, 29-27, since the opening tip-off.

NMMI struggled against the press, committing several turnovers which more-often-than-not ended in easy baskets for the Braves, and found themselves down by 12 at the end of the period.

In the fourth, Santa Fe Indian used a combo of ball-control offense – to take time off the clock – along with flurry of points by Brave Virgil Valencia, including four treys.

“The first half, we played great,” said head Colt coach Connor Williamson, “and in the second the wheels just kinda fell off.”

“At halftime I just told the guys ‘We won the first half by three – we gotta go out and do it again.’ We drew up how to break their trap, but it still gave us trouble,” explained coach Williamson.

“No. 14 hit some threes,” continued coach about Valencia’s offensive outpouring in the fourth, “but it wasn’t just those threes that won it. Those were daggers, but it was defensive breakdowns that really hurt us in the second half.”

Despite the loss, the future looks bright for the Colt basketball program under first-year head coach Williamson, who brought NMMI back to the State Playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

“We got some good minutes out of the freshman Jaikayo [Brown] – that’s promising for the future. Plus both [Ricardo] Mata and Dainiel [Xibille] are sophomores and we have them coming back as well, and then junior [Clay] Stroh,” said Williamson. “So we’ve got four guys returning who played significant minutes – that’s great to build on for next season.”

Colts defeat Rattlers – head to District Championship on Saturday

Daniel Xibille drives the lane for two of his team high 14 points with Rattler Jesus Ramos on defense.

NMMI Sports Press

The New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team won their way into to the District 4-3A championship game, defeating the Tucumcari Rattlers, 47-42, in the third-round matchup of the district post-season ladder-bracket tournament.

NMMI started strong with a 5-0 run before the Rattlers battled back to make it a slim one-point Institute lead at the end of the first, 9-8.

The second quarter was a back and forth affair where both teams took the lead multiple times – but the Colts managed to maintain that one-point lead at the halftime buzzer, 21-20.

NMMI held a three to four point lead throughout most of the third, but at the end of the period, Tucumcari closed the gap to two, 33-31.

The Colts kept – and slightly extended – their lead during the fourth quarter, going on to win by five in front of a max-capacity crowd in the Godfrey Athletic Center.

“The guys played hard and they got it done,” said head Colt basketball coach Connor Williamson. “We hit just enough shots to get the victory. Clay Stroh gave us some really good time off the bench and came up with some clutch rebounds in the final minutes to limit the Rattlers scoring chances.”

Daniel Xibille led the Colts with 14 points; Hector Reyna was right behind him in with 13; and Jonathan Romero had nine.

The Colts will play in Dexter on Saturday for the 4-3A District Championship at 2:00 PM.

Quickness key to Colt win over ‘Cats

NMMI’s Hector Reyna playing tough defense out on the wing against Tularosa’s Traiton Griffen.

NMMI Sports Press

In front of a gym packed with members of the Corps of Cadets, the New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team (6-6, 2-1) evened up their record and moved into the pole position in the District 4 race, downing Tularosa (13-8, 1-2) at home on Tuesday, 46-36.

The Colts sunk the first basket of the game, a short shot by Charles Lewis after a pretty inlet pass by Hector Reyna, but quickly found themselves down by five, 7-2, after hot outside shooting by the ‘Cats.

NMMI’s Ricardo Mata then got hot himself, nailing back-to-back threes and then a two from the top of the key, giving the Colts a 10-7 lead with 3:57 left in the first. They then kept that margin until the end of the period, 15-12, thanks in large part to three more assists by Reyna.

Reyna sunk the next two baskets to start the second period, putting NMMI up by seven. Daniel Xibille dropped in five of his game-high 14 points in the period as well, helping the Colts take a 26-19 lead into the locker room.

As part of the halftime ceremonies, members of the ‘Cadets for a Cure’ campaign presented a check to the Chavez County Cancer Fund totaling $3000. The campaign is a year-long series of events and activities, organized by Institute cadets, designed to help raise both money and awareness for all types of cancer. The Chaves County Cancer Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 to “provide caring support and financial assistance to Chaves County community members and their families as they go through cancer treatment.”

With the ‘big check’ presented and halftime concluded, the third quarter began, and it was a low-scoring, hard-nosed defensive battle by both teams. NMMI shot just 2-for-12 and committed six turnovers. But Tularosa’s offensive output was hardly better: 2-for-11 from the field, along with seven turnovers. Tularosa did manage to slightly outscore NMMI in the stanza, 6-5, making it a six-point game, 31-25, with one period left to play.

The ‘Cats scored eleven in the final period, including the initial bucket to cut the score to just four, 31-27, but that was as close as they would get, as five different Colt players posted points in the fourth, combining for a total of 15. Xibille again led with six. Reyna had three. Jalil Brown scored his first bucket of the game at the 6:37 mark on a fast break after a block and assist by Xibille. Charles Lewis got the final two points of his eight-point tally after a steal and easy bucket with 3:22 left on the clock. And newcomer Clay Stroh hit a pair from the charity stripe with 13 ticks left to close out the Colt scoring.

“It got sloppy there a couple of times – which it kind of tends to do with us – but we were able to withstand the turnovers and finish the game,” said head Colt basketball coach Connor Williamson, who was clearly proud of his team’s play on both sides of the ball.

“We have a lot of guys who can score, just a lot of threats, and when we share the ball, we’re definitely scary,” continued the coach. “Our offense comes from our defense a lot of times, too. We have a lot of quick defenders and when they get in those passing lanes it causes a lot of problems for opposing teams. Then we get on the break and get some easy ones.”

Xibille tied Lewis for tops in rebounds, each with seven. Reyna finished with nine points, six boards, six assists, a block and pair of steals. Mata poured in eight on the night, all in the first, and had a trio of both rebounds and assists.

Next up for the Colts will be another district home game, as they take on the Rattlers on Friday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 PM in the Cahoon Armory gym and try to avenge a previous 51-34 loss in Tucumcari back on Feb. 5.

Colts defeat Dexter for first district win of the season

NMMI’s Jalil Brown defending against Dexter’s Jaime Chavira. Brown had nine points and six boards for the Colts; Chavira had nine points and three boards for the Demons. Photo courtesy of Laura Brown.

NMMI Sports Press

The New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team defeated the Dexter Demons 57-49 in the Cahoon Armory gym on Friday night, evening-up their district record to 1-1.

NMMI was down by as much as 11 in the first five minutes of the game, but the Colts came back in the second half of the quarter to cut the Demon lead to four, 18-14.

NMMI took their first lead of the game, 24-23, with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter – Charles Lewis making good on a pair of free throws for two of his 10 points in the game, but Dexter regained the lead and took a slim 27-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.

At the start of the third, NMMI went on an 8-0 run, including two three pointers, one by Hector Reyna and another by Jalil Brown, to give them a six-point 33-27 cushion.

A pair of free throws by Dexter big-man Bryan Cano, who had six points and six boards in the contest, cut that lead to four just before the end of the third period, 38-34.

Dexter then tied the game early in the fourth quarter 40-40, but NMMI slowly rebuilt their lead in large part thanks to eight points in the period by Daniel Xibille, along with a 9-for-16 performance from the charity stripe down the stretch, keeping the game out of reach.

NMMI led by as much as nine in the fourth quarter to take home their first district victory of the season.

Hector Reyna led the Colts with 12 points. Reyna also had seven rebounds, two steals, and four rebounds. Charles Lewis collected 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds on the night.

Bejarano big with 36, but Colts outlast ‘Cats

Hagerman’s Jakob Bejarano goes baseline against NMMI’s Jesus Luy. Bejarano was able to score from both the inside and outside, and had a big night for the Bobcats with 36 points. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

NMMI Sports Press

Hagerman senior Jakob Bejarano dropped in 36 points for the visiting Bobcats, including 23 of his team’s 24 points in the first half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Colts in the Cahoon Armory gym, with New Mexico Military winning their second-straight game at home, 63-49.

The Institute squad jumped out to an early 14-1 lead – connecting on their first nine shots from the field – taking the first period by a score of 22-6.

The Bobcats turned the tables in the second, however, squashing the Colt lead to just six points by halftime, 30-24, thanks to a seventeen-point tear by Bejarano.

An 11-2 run by the Colts to start the third, capped by a three-pointer by NMMI senior Jesus Luy, made it 43-26 with 4:55 on the clock. The Bobcats battled back to within nine, 43-35, but another Colt run in the final minute and a half of play gave NMMI a 15-point lead, 50-35, heading into the final quarter.

Hagerman closed to back within seven several times before the three-minute mark in the fourth, but the Colts sunk enough free-throws down the stretch to keep the game out of reach, including a 6 for 6 stint from the stripe by sophomore guard Ricardo Mata.

“The team is starting to really play well together,” said head NMMI coach Connor Williamson. “I liked everyone’s effort tonight. We came out strong tonight and got a comfortable lead, but then they had a really good player, Bejarano, score a lot of points in the first half. That made it a close game, but our guys fought hard in the second half to pull it out. We just tried to spread it out and take time off the clock at the end of the game, and knocked down some good free-throws.”

Top scorer for the game was Bobcat Bejarano, with the aforementioned 36. Teammate Jose Rodriguez had 11.

NMMI had three players post double-figures in scoring, led by sophomore Daniel Xibille’s 18; Luy had 14 and senior Hector Reyna dropped in 12.

With the win, NMMI improves to 3-4 on the season, while the Bobcats fall to 6-10. Next up for the Colts will be a road match at Texico at 6:00 PM on Monday, Jan. 29, followed by a rematch with ‘Cats in Hagerman on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 PM.