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Hector stays hot as Colt basketball wins third straight

Colt point guard Hector Reyna working NMMI’s version of the Princeton motion offense. Reyna finished with 18 points and five assists in the Institute’s win at home vs. Tucumcari Friday night. (NMMI Sports Press Photo)

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Senior point guard Hector Reyna had another stellar game for the New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team, helping his squad de-fang the visiting Tucumcari Rattlers, 50-32.

Reyna poured in 18 points for the Colts, leading all scorers, while also picking up five assists, four rebounds and a trio of steals.

The win moves NMMI’s overall mark above .500 at 7-6 and keeps them in first place in district with a 3-1 record. The sole district loss was on the road to the Rattlers, 51-34, in both teams’ first district game of the season, back on Feb. 5.

The Colts trailed just once in the contest, midway through the first period, 8-7, before breaking out to a six-point lead by the end, 14-8. Reyna had the last five points of the stanza to help put his team out front for the rest of the game.

Hard-nosed defense allowed NMMI to slowly extend their lead in the second — along with a buzzer-beating trey by Charles Lewis — to make it 29-15 at the half.

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In the third, the Colt offense put up 11 points, while the Colt defense — for the third straight period — held Tucumcari below double-digits.

That made it an 18-point margin, 40-22, entering the final quarter, where both teams battled to a 10-10 tie.

“We came out with intensity, got a nice lead, and were able to cruise from there,” said head Colt coach Connor Williamson. “Generally we have a lot of guys that are right around the 10-mark in scoring. That’s beautiful, because it means we have a lot of threats and anyone can get that big number for us. It’s just nice that we shared the ball like we did tonight.”

Ricardo Mata and Lewis both scored nine on the night, proving the coach’s point. Daniel Xibille finished with six; Jesus Luy and Jonathon Romero each had three; and Jalil Brown rounded out the tally with two.

Brown and Romero were both big on the boards, as well, with eight and seven rebounds, respectively.

NMMI has two games remaining in the regular season — both are district contests on the road, against Tularosa on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and then Dexter on Friday, Feb. 22.

“If we win the next two games, we’ll be hosting the district championships, and that’s definitely our goal right now,” concluded coach Williamson.

That District 4 post-season tournament is scheduled to begin the following week and is a ‘ladder bracket’ format where the No. 4 seed (as determined by team’s regular season district record) travels to play the No. 3 seed. The winner of that game travels to play the No. 2 seed, with that game’s winner hitting the road to take on the No. 1 seed for the tournament title and an automatic bid to the NMAA’s Class 3A Boys’ Basketball State Championships.

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