In less than 24 hours, things changed for the Dexter Demons’ boys basketball team. It might have been the opponent, Jal, because in their game against Lordsburg Thursday night, Dexter could impose their will on Lordsburg and get to the lane and get their shots off. Against Jal, it was quite a different struggle as they could not get into their offensive set, or score the ball. It affected everything the Demons did.
Dexter could not overcome a slow start as they scored only four points in the first quarter. It would have an effect on the game as the Panthers would cruise to a 56-29 win Friday night at Lewis Arena, in the 53rd Annual John Reid Dexter Invitational Boys Basketball Tournament.
“Dexter has been really great,” Jal coach Emmanuel Lujan said. “They put it to us the last couple of years we have played them. They’ve had a really good stock. Everybody goes through losing great seniors. We just needed to make sure we kept our intensity level up, we’re still kind of young. I didn’t want us to start looking at the scoreboard and relax.”
Demons’ coach Sonny Duran was not down after the loss, in fact, he was encouraged by the fight his team played within the fourth quarter. The Demons had many chances to quit and did not. When the game was well in hand, Jal coach Emmanuel Lujan emptied his bench with 7:40 left.
Dexter’s press forced three turnovers and Jal missed baskets at the rim. Dexter went on a tear scoring eight points, forcing Lujan to call a timeout and put the starters back in. Duran has been preaching a football mentality to his team all season, which is to be mentally and physically tough. He wants his team to put this loss behind them and get ready for the next game against Tularosa today.
Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.
Support Local Journalism
With the game against Tularosa, the Demons will be playing a district opponent early. Duran would like for his team to play physical and to defend. He hopes that his Demons do not get off to a slow start offensively and they can eliminate the turnovers. Turnovers have plagued them in the last two games. Duran wants his team to play fast and physical.
“I hope we come out with an intensity that we finished the game with,” Duran said. “I hope that we start that way because we’re not really known to start off quickly. I want us to start off quick tomorrow (Saturday) to turn and get the crowd behind us. I would like to take advantage of our home-court advantage.”
Jal plays NMMI in the championship game tonight at 6:15 p.m.
Dexter (3-13) plays Tularosa at 4:30 p.m. at Lewis Arena today.
Colts tame ‘Cats, advance to tourney championship match
NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team earned a spot in the title tilt of the Dexter Invitational, downing the Tularosa Wildcats, 55-46, in the second round of play in the three-day, eight-team tournament.
The Colts used a combination of frequent inside scoring, timely marksmanship from behind the arc, and four quarters of solid man-to-man defense to get the win, despite trailing by two, 12-10, after the first period of play.
NMMI’s offense went to work in the second and third stanzas, tallying 16 points in each, while on the opposite end of the court, the Institute defense kept the ‘Cats in single digits in both periods: eight points in the second and nine in the third.
Institute junior guard Daniel Xibille was the game’s top scorer with 21 points, including 12 in the second to help NMMI overcome that slim, early Tulie lead.
And when the Wildcats adjusted their defense to help slow down the Colt’s points in the paint, the hot hand of Hector Soto made them pay from the outside. The freshman shooting guard went 5-for-6 from behind the arc, which is special enough, but it was more about when he pulled the trigger than how often. His threes seemed to come at exactly the right moment, ending a ‘Cat scoring run and stifling every ‘Cat comeback attempt.
“We just played a really good team game,” said junior Colt point guard Ricardo Mata. “I didn’t score, but my team was there for me and I was there for them. We just played really good defense and Daniel had an outstanding game.”
With the second-round win over Tularosa, and Thursday’s victory over Mesilla Valley Christian, 50-38, the Colts move to 6-2 overall.
They’ll face Jal, who defeated the tourney host Demons, in the championship match of the Dexter Invitational at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.