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Lady Bobcats adjust to new coach

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A file photo of the Hagerman Lady Bobcats basketball team from the 2018-19 season. (Photo courtesy of MaxPreps)

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For first-year Hagerman girls’ basketball coach, James Scott, he’s had some good mentors. For the last eight years, Scott has seen and been a part of the Roswell’s state championship title as he watched how Joe Carpenter manages a team. The next year, he studied how current coach Fernando Sanchez would lead the Lady Coyotes back to the Final Four in back-to-back seasons. To begin his career, he watched Goddard coach Greg Torres, who gave him his start in coaching.

When former Hagerman coach Candace Pollard resigned, Scott felt he was ready to take the next step in his coaching career and run his own program. One of his goals was to have his team try to improve on the wins from last year’s season (2). He has accomplished that already with four wins. The next goal for Hagerman is to win a district game after going winless last season.

A teacher at heart, Scott teaches English at Hagerman Middle School, he notes that teaching and coaching are very similar because he gets to see kids succeed, and to him, that is the reward part of teaching and coaching.

Scott was hired late, and unable to work with his team during the summer. He feels that a lot of learning will have to be done on the fly, at practices with a goal of having his team comfortable with his system by the time district play and the playoffs start.

With some injuries at the start of the year, the team hasn’t been full strength for most of the season. The team has relied heavily on seniors Esther Delacruz and Emily Hoppes.

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“There are still a bunch of areas we need to get better at,” Scott said. “But it is nice to see even the little things start to show on the court.”

One of the things Scott is happy about is since the beginning of the season, the Lady Bobcats have made improvements every day, and continues to show progress in their team defense.

“The girls have done a great job of really focusing and trying to understand what we are trying to do,” Scott said. “We’ve played some tough games and the girls have played hard in each of them.”

Scott says one of the hardest games of the season so far was against Mescalero Apache, who is the No. 1 team in 2A right now. The Lady Bobcats (4-7) lost 60-18 to Mescalero.

Hagerman played an aggressive game against the Dexter Demons on Jan. 6 but lost, 57-28. That game was a test to see how far Hagerman had come and how far they have to go to match up with a 3A team like Dexter.

“I think we played a good game,” Scott said. “Dexter really works hard, and they make you pay anytime you’re not working hard. We played well against them for about three and a half quarters and had the lead for a little bit in the third, but we ran out of gas going into the fourth quarter.”

Scott feels like Dexter’s pressure was the key to the game, and wore his team down. His team is young and has some injuries and they have not put a full game together. Scott knows that it takes time to win and learn how to play a full 32 minutes as a team.

“My team has a lot of things to be proud of,” Scott said, “they’re giving their best effort and working hard. I’m excited to see where this group will go. I think we have a lot of good pieces and can really surprise some people later on in the season. I think we are going to be tough for anyone to beat.”

Since this feature was written on coach Scott, Hagerman has lost to Gateway Christian, 53-14 on Thursday and to Pecos on Friday, 73-35.

Hagerman (4-9) plays at 5:30 p.m., at Capitan on Jan. 21.