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Dexter and Hagerman ready for action

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Listening to Dexter Demons head basketball coach Arthur Cobos prepare for the upcoming season you would think he’s putting a puzzle together.

“They’re actually a lot of great athletes,” he said of the Demons upcoming season which starts tonight at home against Ruidoso.

“I’m looking to put them where they need to be and utilize our speed,” he said.

Cobos said speed and numbers will be making up for the lack of height that his team will have this season.

“We have a lot of numbers and I want to use that against other teams,” he said.

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The Demons finished last season with an 18-10 record. Cobos said Dexter lost two seniors from that team. He said another key member from that team David Morales won’t be playing this season due to a knee injury.

“We do have some kids coming out this year that did not play the last two years,” he said.

Cobos added,”I like to see all the kids that love basketball to come out and play.”

Cobos has been teaching in Dexter for 10 years and has coached girls’ middle school basketball during that time frame.

“It’s a whole different game in high school,” he said. “I’m very blessed to have the kids that I have out here and we’re just doing our best to find ways to utilize them the best we can.”

Cobos said his main goal for the Demons this season, “is to have fun.”

“I think if they’re having fun and we concentrate on the little things, big things will happen,” he said.

Cobos also wants to instill confidence and a winning attitude into the Demons.

“They’re a very respectful group, very nice kids, good in the classroom and I think sometimes when they are on the court, they can let a little bit of stuff out,” he said.

Regarding tonight’s opponent, Cobos said Dexter saw the Warriors play during the summer.

“The coach (Billy Page) down there, I have a lot of respect for him, very nice guy, he’s taught me a few things,” Cobos said.

After the season opener, the Demons head to Melrose Thursday for a tournament and the following week they hit the road to Portales and then play at a tournament in Tularosa.

The Demons wrap up December with games against Hagerman and Tucumcari.

District play for the Demons starts Jan. 25 at home against Eunice.

Speaking of Hagerman, the Bobcats season starts Thursday against Dora at the J.P. Stone Invitational.

Head coach Andrew Rodriguez said the Bobcats have a good mix of players from last year’s team that went 15-14.

“We’ve got some veterans that have been in the program for a few years and know the expectations and then we have some young kids that are eager to get it after it,” he said.

Rodriguez said the Bobcats will have speed as well and they will be aggressive on defense.

Rodriguez was asked to talk about key players for this season and the first name mentioned was senior guard-forward Osbaldo Najera.

“He’s been starting the last three years,” he said.

Rodriguez said the Bobcats have some other senior leadership on the roster with Chris Manz and Martin Trevizo.

“Then we have a junior, Martin Flores, who will be running point (guard) and a little bit of shooting guard and is a key on defense,” he said.

After this week’s tournament in Dora, the Bobcats play New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell Dec. 7 and then Dec. 14 Hagerman entertains Eunice, the next night they play at Dexter and the following night they will travel to Loving.

“Once January comes around it seems like its tournament after tournament.” Rodriguez said.

The Bobcats will spend the opening days of the new year at the Smokey Bear Invitational in Cloudcroft. Then Jan. 11-13 the Bobcats will participate in the John Reid Invitational in Dexter.

District play for the Bobcats start Jan. 29 at Gateway Christian in Roswell.

Rodriguez is starting his fourth year as the Bobcats head coach. He attended school in Hagerman and graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.

“It’s been a blast,” he said of his tenure as head coach. “It’s been an honor and privilege to be able to come back to my alma mater and coach these young men.”

The past few years have been, “up and down record wise,” Rodriguez said. “There’s one thing I’ve appreciated with each of the teams is there desire to get better and their drive. They always want to get better everyday and they don’t want to quit.”

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