Home Sports Local Sports Gateway loses in tourney to No. 1 Magdalena

Gateway loses in tourney to No. 1 Magdalena

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Gateway Christian’s head basketball coach, Daniel Smith, offers words of encouragement to his team at the fourth quarter, urging them to continue strong. Gateway was later defeated by the Magdalena Steers 51-60. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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The Gateway Christian Warriors struck first Wednesday night against the Magdalena Steers at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho. The hero of their first game in the state tournament, Wes Tipton, sank a three-point shot in the opening seconds of the game. Nearly the entire first quarter would pass before Gateway got on the board again in a heartbreaking 60-51 loss to No. 1 Magdalena.

The Steers went on an 11-0 point run after Tipton’s three. With 40 seconds left in the quarter, Gateway’s Jaydon Stephens began to heat up and the Warriors were right back in the game. Stephens scored 5 points to leave the Warriors within three heading into the second quarter.

Magdalena would continue their steady pace on offense in the second quarter. Gateway continued to respond and both teams left the court for halftime with a three-point margin between them. Magdalena would look to keep up the pace in the second half of the game, entering the third quarter with a 21-18 lead.

The Steers put up 11 unanswered points to start the third quarter. Gateway couldn’t get much going offensively and Magdelina was ready to enter the fourth quarter of the game, up 41-23.

Gateway refused to give up. Joe Waide found his spot on the three-point line and added 8 points in a little over a minute. Both teams were getting into foul trouble and the free-throw line was visited frequently during the waning minutes of the game. Magdalena’s Richie Chavez fouled out with 3:59 on the clock. Gateway’s Alonzo Grajeda would do the same with 3:06 left.

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Gateway would continue fighting until the last buzzer, but in the end, they couldn’t avenge their loss to Magdalena earlier this season.

“We played as hard as we could,” Gateway coach Daniel Smith said. “We never stop playing and we fought until the end. That’s what I love about these boys, they never quit, even with 5 seconds left on the clock, they never quit doing what we asked them to do.

“It’s been a great season,” Smith said. “We’re a fairly young team, so we have high hopes going into next year. This is a great experience for us to have to grow on.”