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Colts fall at home to Texico

NMMI junior forward Nigel Grubbs goes up for the inside shot as Texico’s Skyler Davis attempts the block from behind. Photo by Jay Wilson


NMMI Sports Press

Tough defense by Texico’s Craig Ray against NMMI point guard Hector Reyna. Photo by Jay Wilson

It was another slow start at home by the Colt basketball team, giving Texico a lopsided road win, 61-33.

The Wolverines – a team with seven returners from last season’s squad that made it to the Class 3A State Semifinals – dominated the first and third quarters, outscoring NMMI by nine and 14 points during those periods, thanks to a combination of 20 points by the game’s high scorer, Texico’s Dalton Thatcher, and 14 points and 11 rebounds by teammate Nathan Phipps.

After seeing themselves down 14-5 after the first, the Colts went on a brief run to start the second half, cutting Texico’s lead down to six, 15-9.

But that was as close as NMMI would get: they trailed 24-11 at the half, then 42-15 after another Wolverine offensive explosion in the third.

In a fourth quarter plagued by fouls, the two teams traded fast-break baskets and numerous free throws, with Texico taking the final period, 19-18.

NMMI’s top scorer was junior point guard Hector Reyna with 15. Junior forward Nigel Grubbs was top rebounder for the Colts with six.

With the loss, NMMI moves to 1-2 on the season, with two more games before the Holiday break: at home vs. Goddard on Dec. 4th at 7 pm, and then again at home vs. Hagerman on Dec. 7th at 6:30 pm.

NMMI spoils Gateway’s home opener

Tianna Tsosie dribbles the ball up the court.

NMMI Sports Press

Demitra Ulibarri takes a shot early in the first half agains Gateway.

The NMMI Lady Colt basketball team spoiled Gateway Christian’s season opener by overcoming a 10 point deficit to defeat the Lady Warriors 43-41.

NMMI started off the game sluggish as Gateway stormed out to a 10-4 lead thanks to back to back three-pointers by Megyn Balok. Gateway would take a 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Balok finished with 18 points and 3 assists. Head coach Marisha Olesinski said, “We started off a little sluggish, but turned it around and after that everyone played very well.”

The struggles would continue in the second half as Demitra Ulibarri scored the lone basket for the Lady Colts. Gateway finished the quarter with nine points and that totaled the score to 23-13 heading into halftime.

Abigail Valadez shoots one of her eight free throws.

It was very evident that Olesinski was not happy with her team’s performance the in the first half. Olesinski said, “I told the girls that we can come back, we just needed to stop making so many turnovers,” and that is exactly what happened in the second half.

NMMI came out fast in the third quarter as Abigail Valadez scored back to back layups to cut the lead to 23-17, but the momentum did not last long as Gateway finished the third quarter on an 8-3 run.

Heading into the fourth quarter, NMMI was down six points and starting point guard Tianna Tsosie fouled out in the third quarter. Instead of folding and giving the game to Gateway, NMMI rattled off 2 turnovers in a row to get the Warriors out of sync and tied up the game at 37-37. NMMI went on 5-0 and then a turnover allowed Gateway to tie the game at 41-41 with thirty seconds left.

Demitra Ulibarri takes a shot early in the first half against Gateway.

After a shot hit the iron, Ulibarri grabbed the rebound and made the shot with less than five seconds remaining. Gateway did not get a shot off an NMMI won the game 43-41.

Ulibarri led NMMI offensively with 16 points and Valadez added 13 of her own.

NMMI will take on Lake Arthur Monday at the Godfrey Athletic Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM.

 

NMMI drops conference opener to Clarendon

NMMI point guard Rosel Hurley passes off to a teammate after penetrating into the paint off the dribble-drive.

NMMI Sports Press

Soph gaurd Clark Cooper intent on playing solid ‘D’.

The NMMI Bronco basketball team opened up WJCAC play Wednesday evening in Roswell, but was not able to complete the second half comeback and fell to the Clarendon Bulldogs 83-80.

Despite having possession and being down by three with less than thirty seconds remaining in the game, the Broncos did not get a shot off thanks to a steal by Clarendon’s Ellis Jefferson.  Jefferson ended the game with nine points and two steals, one of which gave Clarendon the win. Head coach Ralph Davis said, “In every game we’ve lost, we’ve had a reasonable multiple-possession lead, which we’ve been able to maintain into the second half. That puts you in position to win, but we’ve got to find a way to get over the hump and close games out.”

 

Three-point shot by sophomore Davis Steelman.

NMMI had an eight-point lead halfway through the first half, but Clarendon slowly chipped away and tied the game for the fifth time with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the half. The score was knotted up four more times throughout the half and the Broncos took a slim 44-42 lead into halftime.

NMMI had an early edge against the Bulldogs to start the second half and added another eight-point lead, but a three-pointer by Reece Brooks gave Clarendon the momentum to tie the game up for the 10th time at 52-52 with 16:50 remaining in the second half.

From there the Bulldogs slowly build an eight-point lead of their own with 4:07 left in regulation. Atem Bior scored a very athletic layup to get the lead back to six and immediately after the layup, Trevelin Queen added a field goal to make the score 81-77. NMMI scored seven unanswered points to pull within one of Clarendon, but that was the closest NMMI would come.

Sophomore forward Atem Bior takes a quick breather during a Bulldog double-bonus free throw.

“We have to string together more stops early, instead of late out of desperation,” said Davis. “We have to play much smarter on offense and more efficiently. We also haven’t been hitting the shots we are capable of, even on our home court. That’s important, no matter who you play, because you’ve got win those home games.”

Offensively, NMMI had four players in double figures led by Trevelin Queen, who scored 22 points and added 11 rebounds. Rosel Hurley finished with 14 points and Cooper Clark 12 of his own.

“We played hard enough, we just didn’t play smart enough. There’s no question we’re talented enough to win, we just need to take that final step and learn to play with a lead”, said Davis.

With the loss, NMMI falls to 7-5 overall and 0-1 in WJCAC play. Next up for the Broncos will be road game in Hobbs, NM on Saturday, to take on the NMJC Thunderbirds (8-2). Tipoff is set for 2:30 PM MST.

Colts run out of gas against Tularosa

Jump shot by NMMI’s Khristofer Hill. The 6’7″ junior wing-man led all scorers with 18 points, along with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Photo by Jay Wilson

NMMI Sports Press

Inlet pass off the fast break by NMMI point guard Juan Reyna. Photo by Jay Wilson

The NMMI Colt basketball team was not able to overcome a slow start and fell to the Tularosa Wildcats 51-41 in their home opener Tuesday evening.

NMMI could not click offensively, scoring only 12 points in the first half on a cold 5 for 22 shooting performance, committing 13 turnovers compared to Tularosa’s three. This led to a 13-0 Tularosa run, and proved to be an insurmountable lead for the Colts to overcome.

Hector Reyna with the drive to the bucket. The senior guard finished with 12 points for the Colts. Photo by Jay Wilson

Head coach Sean Schooley said, “Tularosa is well coached and they did what they were supposed to do. They ran their stuff and took care of the ball and I thought they did a great job.”

Tularosa led 30-12 at halftime and built a 20 point lead, 34-14, within the first 30 seconds of the third quarter. At this point the Colts woke up and rattled off nine unanswered points and closed the gap on the Wildcats halfway through the third quarter.

NMMI forward Nigel Grubbs on defense. Grubbs was the game’s leader in rebounds with 12, including seven on offense. Photo by Jay Wilson

NMMI would trade baskets with the Wildcats to finish the period down 38-27. The Colts fed off that energy and further reducing the Tularosa lead to five points at the 5:36 mark of the fourth quarter. But that was as close the Colts would get as they committed five turnovers the rest of the contest. “I was very proud of our guys because we could have folded and they bounced back and we just ran out of gas and we just couldn’t keep up.,” said Schooley. Tularosa was able to build the lead back up to double digits for the final margin.

Michael Carrejo comes up with a loose ball for the Colts. Photo by Jay Wilson

Leading the way offensively was Khristofer Hill, who finished with a game high of 18 points including back to back three pointers during the 9-0 run the Colts had early in the third quarter. Hector Reyna added 12 points and Nigel Grubbs grabbed 12 rebounds. Tularosa was led by Toby Carrillo who added 13 points in a balanced team attack for the Wildcats.

NMMI (1-1) has a quick turnaround as they take on the Texico Wolverines (1-0) Thursday at 7 PM in Cahoon Armory.

 

 

 

Colt basketball prepares for season with new head coach

Head Colt basketball coach Sean Schooley

NMMI Sports Press

A familiar face is taking over the helm of the Colt basketball team this season, and, combined with some promising young players, the team could get back in the thick of things in one of the toughest districts in the state.

The new but veteran head coach is Sean Schooley, who’s been at NMMI for 25 years, as both a high school and college coach.

“It’s been a lot of fun to come back and work with the high school kids again,” he said. “It’s different. The last time I coached a high school kid was about 1995.”

As the young head Colt hoops coach from 1992-1995, Schooley amassed a 50-29 record. During that term, his teams made two state tournament appearances and, in 1995, finished with an undefeated district record and district post-season tournament championship. All of this he credits to his players and former Colt head coach Tommy Sanchez.

“Talent will make you look good,” he laughed. “We had some kids who came through here — all at the same time — who went on to play college basketball. Coach  Sanchez and I really worked on keeping the kids and built the program up. Then when Tommy left, I kind of got to reap the benefits of that work.”

Now, as the veteran coach, Schooley will bring his decades of experience with the Broncos — first as an assistant then as the head coach — back to the high school level. And while there are some differences, he said the philosophies are the same.

“The junior college kid can be very stubborn. Trying to change some habits they’ve formed, the ideas in their heads, and getting them go from dreams to what it takes in the real world can be a tough sell. With the high school kids, they’re a little more eager to learn,” Schooley said. “At the juco level, I was used to a different level of athleticism, but that’s OK. We’re still talking about the same things that I talked about with the college kids. I’m a firm believer in defense and rebounding and sharing the basketball, and that doesn’t change whether I’m coaching the college kids or my son’s travel ball team. Those things stay the same.”

For his assistant coaching staff, Schooley is maintaining that mix of eager youth and cagey experience.

Assistant coach Brandon Suazo came to NMMI last season. “He’s a good, young enthusiastic coach. He still believes he can save the world – like I did back when I was first coaching at the high school level. We always need some of that positive, never-say-die type of attitude,” Schooley said.

New assistant coach Kyle Alsup is extremely well known in baseball circles, but also coached the freshman basketball team at Roswell High under Britt Cooper.

“I think he’s going to help Brandon a lot, because he’s been coaching a long time and Brandon needs some mentoring on the bench. I think it’ll be a good balance.”

The coaches will have a young squad to mentor, with mostly junior players and only two athletes who saw numerous minutes on last year’s team. But, Schooley said, he has numbers, which he said is key to building a future.

“We really want to keep the numbers up, because if you want to build any program here, especially in the high school, retention is the key. Keeping kids for two and three and four years is crucial,” he said. “My last couple of years here as the high school coach, we had kids who’d been with us since they were freshmen or sophomores, so by the time they were juniors and seniors we had some continuity with it.”

Schooley estimated he had 25-35 players before soccer and football season ended, and is hoping for 40-50 now that the fall-season sports have finished.

The lone senior on the squad is 6-foot-3 Jesus Najar, while 5-8 junior Jesus Ley started as a sophomore. The remainder of the team is young and somewhat inexperienced.

“It’s really going to be an adventure to see what we do here,” Schooley said. “We’ve got some kids who have some ability. They need to be smoothed out a little bit and figure out what they can and can’t do. In the past, the kids just rolled out onto the court and the coaches said ‘Here we go’. I’m just not that type of coach and we’re not that good. But we’ll still let them play. We’ve got some kids who can compete a little bit. We’ll see what happens.”

The team does have some height, led by 6-6 junior newcomer Khristofer Hill, who came to the Institute from California and is expected to see time on the floor.

“He’s a good, talented young man,” Schooley said. “He’s got to learn how to play his position a little more, but he’s got a great feel for the game and he handles the ball extremely well, so I hope that creates some matchup problems for some people.”

The Colts opened the season on the road with a 56-46 win vs. Loving on Nov. 16. Then, they’ll  come home for four games — against Tularosa, Texico, Goddard and Hagerman — before heading off on the holiday break.

They’ll play Dexter in Dexter to open 2018, then compete at the Dexter Tourney before starting district play. Schooley likes the early schedule.

“Those first games are great to check our work-in-progress. We’ve got to get to know each other and then figure out how to play as a team, so we can get ready for a strong district,” he said. “It’s not going to be a walk in the park by any means. What we have to do by the time district comes around is know what we can and cannot do and implement it to the best of our ability. But it’s a good schedule. I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to put us into some challenging spots and we’ll see how our kids respond. The game is easy to play when you’re up 10. When you’re down 10, you see how your players interact with each other. They either tighten it up and get after it, or they tend to fold. I won’t know how they do until we get out there and play.”

Then, of course, there’s District 4-4A, which saw Hope Christian and Portales battle for the state title in Albuquerque last year — the Huskies won — and Ruidoso make it to the round of 16. Schooley knows it will be just as tough, but hopes his squad can get in a few licks this season.

“I would imagine that it’s probably Hope and Portales that’s one and two,” he said. “And rightfully so. Ruidoso should be up there, too. Other than that I couldn’t tell you. We’ll be fighting in every game and hopefully make a few people nervous here and there.”

Whatever happens, Schooley said it will be fun to be back coaching high school, and invited everyone to come watch this year’s team.

“I’m just excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and to see where we can take it. They’re working hard and they’re giving effort at every practice, and that’s all we can ask them to do, in addition to being good citizens off the court. We’ll see where it takes us.”