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Artesia basketball team hosts local scrimmages

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Despite having a majority of his basketball players out for the football playoffs, Artesia High Bulldogs head coach Michael Mondragon was pleased with their performance during a series of scrimmages Tuesday in Artesia. (Mike Smith Photo)

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ARTESIA — As the Artesia Bulldog football team gets ready for their 5A state semifinal game against Farmington this weekend, the Artesia High boys’ basketball team is getting ready for next month.

Head coach Michael Mondragon’s team won’t play their first game of the season until Dec. 7 during the City of Champions Classic in Artesia and he has a number of players that are out due to the playoffs.

That however isn’t stopping Mondragon and the rest of his charges as they get ready for opening day.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Mondragon invited a number of area schools to the Bulldog Pit to participate in a scrimmage.

Dexter, Gateway Christian, Hagerman and Texico made the trip to Bulldog land.

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Artesia took to the floor against Dexter for the first game of the day. Mondragon said the team is trying to shake the rust off.

“I think our defensive pressure was good at times,” he said. “I love our transition, I thought we played really well in transition.”

Mondragon added, “great first scrimmage and I’m definitely excited with what we’re doing.”

Mondragon said it was nice to see the Bulldogs take on someone else. The players have been dealing with each other since practice started a few weeks ago.

“It’s fun to go against somebody that isn’t orange, black or white and they’re having fun,” Mondragon said.

While everybody else participating in Tuesday’s scrimmage was from the immediate area, the Texico Wolverines made the longest trek.

“We should get the chance to see them compete against the other teams and hopefully some different styles and see where were at to get the season started,” said Texico head coach Ty Tharp.

“We got our football guys in the gym this past week,” he added. “With all the stuff going on we’ve had a few workouts (and) trying to come together and learn what we need to learn.”

The Dexter Demons were guests of the Wolverines, according to head coach Arthur Cobos.

“He(Thatcher) asked if we’d come down here and grabbed a couple of other small schools, so we’re gonna get a few scrimmages in, we barely got our football boys back yesterday (Monday), so it’s a good opportunity to get them into basketball mode,” he said.

“This is a very nice scrimmage they put on and we get to play on the main court at The Pit and everybody loves to play on it,” he added.

Cobos brought 15 kids to the scrimmage.

The Demons start the season Tuesday with a home contest against Ruidoso.

“This is a good opportunity for us,” said Hagerman head coach Andrew Rodriguez.

“It will be our first action against a team other than ourselves, we’ve been going back and forth at each other all November,” he added.

He said the scrimmage was, “a good learning opportunity for us.”

The Bobcats start the season Nov. 30 against Dora.