Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Colt basketball team took home the top team and individual awards in this year’s Dexter Invitational, downing the Jal Panthers in a two-point nail-biter, 48-46, in the championship match.
It was a game of runs with over 10 lead changes and near double-digit leads for both teams, but perhaps the most important points of the game came from the tournament’s Most Valuable Player selection, NMMI freshman Hector Soto.
With less than a minute remaining in the game, and a six-point Institute lead, 46-40, Colt guard Daniel Xibille got a steal and dribbled down for what should have been a fairly easy lay-up. The shot came too hard off the glass, hit the front of the rim and back up and out, but Soto, only 5-foot-7, was already up in the air to get the rebound and put-back, for NMMI’s final two points of the game.
“It was good to win the MVP, but this game was about getting rebounds and good defense,” said Soto. “I was just out there playing and I appreciate all the effort of the entire team.”
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“I knew Soto was a player when I first saw him in practice,” said Head Colt coach Connor Williamson. “I knew I was going to start him pretty early on, but I didn’t expect a tournament MVP his first season – didn’t know he would come this far this soon.”
The Panthers scored the final six points of the contest and had several attempts to knot the score in the final 30 seconds, but a stingy Colt defense only allowed contested shots, and the Colts gobbled up glass, preventing any extra attempts.
Soto led the Colts in scoring with a trio or treys and 17 total points. Xibille hit the double-figure mark as well with 11, and down on the low post, big-man Clay Stroh powered in seven.
Three Colt players were named to the Dexter Invitational All-Tournament team: junior point guard Ricardo Mata, NMMI’s primary ball-handler; Xibille, the Colt’s leading scorer; and Soto with the MVP, the Institute’s expert from behind the arc.
With the tourney win, NMMI moves to 7-2 overall and is riding a five-game win streak.
“This is just a good group of kids,” summed up coach Williamson about NMMI’s three-game effort at this year’s tournament and the nine games they’ve played thus far in the season. “They fight all the way to the end every time. They really, really play as a team and pick up each other’s slack as needed.”
The Colts will head home for their next match, taking on the Ruidoso Warriors on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the Godfrey Athletic Center on the NMMI campus.
Dexter loses to Tularosa
By J.T. Keith
Roswell Daily Record
No matter what happens the rest of the season for the Dexter boys basketball team, they cannot go a quarter without scoring a point. That’s what happened — they played Tualrosa in the 53rd Annual John Reid Dexter Invitational Boys Basketball Tournament, as they lost, 52-26, Saturday at Lewis Arena.
“There’s nothing to make excuses,” Dexter coach Sonny Duran said. “I thought we were playing great defense at the beginning. They (Tularosa) average about five buckets a quarter. They made the good shot, at the same time we didn’t do a good job of blocking out.”
During the tournament, even against Lordsburg, the Demons have had trouble getting easy shots and converting on layups. Almost every shot for them has been a difficult shot in the tournament. Dexter has had open looks at the basket and has either missed the shot or overpassed the ball, or thrown it away.
Against Tularosa, Dexter had good intentions, but went scoreless in the first quarter and ended up scoring eight points in the second quarter. The defense played hard, but their offense was a mix of bad shots and turnovers. On defense, Dexter gave up too many rebounds on the defensive end of the floor.
“There were at least five or six possessions,” Duran said, “where they had seven shots in one possession. That’s a drive killer. We ended up fouling and having them go to the line at the end of the possessions.”
After halftime, the Demons relaxed and generated offense in the fourth quarter. Most of the offense for the Demons came on the hot three-point shooting of Jorge Carrasco, who had a team-high 15 points, as he hit three treys from long distance.
“We’re going to go as Carrasco goes,” Duran said. “Our offense goes through him.”
First-year Dexter coach, Sonny Duran, is learning just like his team. He’s finding it is not easy to replace such a decorated senior class. To lose 14 seniors on a team that has been to the playoffs the last four years, there is a lot of work to be done and a lot to replace.
Duran will continue to believe in his kids, and work on getting them to start games faster and not dig big holes to have to climb out. He looks to get more scoring out of freshman Joshua Duran. Coach Duran feels like if Joshua Duran can trust his offense and loosen up a little bit, he will be able to score and help his teammates get other shots.
“We have to be better offensively,” Duran said. “We have to trust one another and take care of the ball. I think that’s our biggest weakness right now. We don’t trust one another. We lost, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort, this game goes to the little things. Blocking out, rebounding, setting screens for one another, rolling out of screens, taking care of the ball. Those things make a whole (lot of) difference.”
Dexter travels to Jal on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Lady Coyotes destroy Santa Teresa
By Tom A. Ruiz
Special to RDR Sports
The Roswell Lady Coyotes were mean as mean can be in their 60-29 non-conference senior night win over the Santa Teresa Lady Desert Warriors Saturday afternoon at Coyote Den.
Roswell, 7-13, beat up the Warrior’s in just about every category, mostly on the defensive side, forcing 22 turnovers. The Lady Coyotes’ smothering defense was just too much for Santa Teresa to handle.
“We’re trying different things on defense,” said Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez. “We actually switched up the defense trying to play more to our strengths, and the girls are getting better at it,” Sanchez added.
Roswell had three blocks in the game, one by their post, who came into the game in the third quarter with her right hand taped up.
It was in the first quarter though that the Lady Coyotes landed the knockout punch. Janae Faust had the first two blocks for Roswell in the first quarter.
Then two back-to-back triples followed, one by Makenzie Tarin, followed by Tori Sandoval’s three-bomb. But it was Amariah Toscano who led Roswell with 22 points on the night.
“The girls really shot the ball well tonight. We got out and got some easy points,” Sanchez pointed out. “Amariah got us out ahead in the game.”
Toscano scored 9 points in the opening quarter.
Roswell led, 16-4, after the first quarter and never looked back in picking up their seventh win of the season. The Lady Coyotes played with a measure of fun, which even brought a smile to Sanchez’s face.
“In these games (blowouts), the girls play with a little bit more freedom. I was really proud of them,” Coach Sanchez said. “That’s gonna be a big one against Artesia, and then we open district play against Hobbs. But we’re gonna worry about Artesia next,”
On Tuesday, the 5-9 Artesia Lady Bulldogs come to the Den for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.