Home Sports Local Sports Warriors dominate Loving; win the Lake Arthur Invite

Warriors dominate Loving; win the Lake Arthur Invite

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The Warriors pose with their first place plaque following their big win over Loving. (Paul Lessard Photo)

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LAKE ARTHUR – The Gateway Christian Warrior basketball team turned in arguably their best performance of the year with a 65-28 runaway win over 3A Loving to win the 11th Annual Panther Invitational in Lake Arthur, NM. The Warriors (4-1) ran out to a huge 35-13 lead at the half and coasted to the big win.

The Gateway girls team is all smiles following their third-place finish at the Lake Arthur Invite. (Paul Lessard Photo)

“Defense was it,” stated a happy coach Dan Smith. “We’ve been working on this all season long and it’s really looking solid at this point.”

The Warrior defense was outstanding in the opening half as they held the Falcons to only two buckets (none in the second quarter) and kept their big playmaking guard, Steven Carrasco, in check. The Warrior offense, meanwhile, was on fire as they hit 6 treys in the opening half and also dominated in the paint. “Coming into the game, (controlling Carrasco) was one of our thoughts,” stated Smith. “Stephens did a great job on him. He’s a great athlete and a great player for us.”

The Warriors were led by Jaydon Stephens with 18 points, Joe Waide with 16, and Alonzo Grajeda with 16. All three of these players, as well as post Wes Tipton, were named to the all-tournament team.

Coach Smith had a high praise for his team leaders. “Wesley Tipton is one of our bigs and he’s been working hard and he did a great job down in the post. Grajeda – he’s our senior and he’s bringing great leadership and skills to the team. Joe Waide has been working super hard and it’s just starting to show on the court.”

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The Gateway girls basketball team took third place as they raced out to a 16-2 first quarter lead on Corona and never looked back in the win. Megyn Balok was on firs hitting for 29 points and Taylor Higgins chipped in 15. Balok was named to the all-tourney team.

The host Lake Arthur Panthers played gracious hosts as both the boys and girls team lost. The girls lost big to the Dexter JV but saw one big highlight when freshman Alejandra Gonzalez was named to the all-tourney team in her first year of playing basketball.

The Panther boys team had a major fourth-quarter meltdown in their matchup with Corona. The Cardinals took advantage of three starters exiting for the Panthers and outscored them 24-9 to take the 61-54 win. Freshman Adrian Guillen finished with 29 points without playing in the fourth quarter. Tarren Washburn led the Cardinal comeback with 13 points in the final frame as he finished with a game-high 30.