Steers go cold against Hot Springs
The Steers Stampede high school basketball tournament ended this weekend with one hometown team falling just short of the championship, while other local teams took leaps forward throughout the three-day tourney.
The Magdalena boys team made it the furthest out of the four area teams that participated in the event, making it to the championship game on Saturday night. But the Steers lost to the Hot Springs Tigers and settling for the tournament runner up title.
The Magdalena girls bounced back from a disappointing first-round loss to win the consolation bracket, beating the Alamo Navajo Lady Cougars, while the Alamo boys team failed to win a game.
Resuming a Rivalry
The Magdalena Steers won their first two games of the tournament, but they ended their weekend with a 42-30 loss to Hot Springs.
“This is the fourth year in a row we have met in the finials,” Magdalena’s head coach Jory Mirabal said of the match up with the Tigers. “It is a good rivalry.”
Hot Springs (3-1) beat Carrizozo and McCurdy to the championship game, while Magdalena (3-2) first beat Native American Community Academy and then Mescalero Apache.
The championship game was another chapter in the exciting rivalry between the two familiar teams. Duster Apachito, Arquis Nelson, Clifton Guerro, Kendall Apachito, and Miles Parscal started for the Steers but got off to a slow start when Hot Springs scored the first six points of the game. The Steers fought back, though, and the first quarter ended with the score tied 6-6.
Hot Springs was able to slowly pull ahead and by halftime the Tigers were up 18-15. When the teams took to the court for the second half, the Steers came out cold and managed just one point in the third quarter. The Steers played better in the fourth quarter but were unable to overcome the deficit.
“The things that hurt us — didn’t block out, free throws, rebounds and we didn’t get runs,” said Mirabal.
Magdalena got to the championship game by beating Mescalero Apache, 57-54, on Friday, while the Tigers beat McCurdy 48-44.
Miles Parscal and Kendall Apachito were Magdalena’s representatives on the all-tournament team.
“Miles shot well, but T or C did a good job of defending him,” Mirabal said.
The same two teams met again in Magdalena on Tuesday, Dec. 7 (no results were available at El Defensor Chieftain press time).
Getting After it
The Magdalena girls lost their first game of the tournament to Mescalero Apache, but head coach Wally Sanchez saw the problem immediately andmade corrections that allowed the team to win their next two games in the tournament.
“The way we played the last eight years, I got away from it,” Sanchez said. “It is my fault. I think we could have played for the championship. They were weaned on that kind of basketball — full court man to man. Alamo or Cibola, we will play our game.”
Sanchez switched back to playing full-court defense, and the Steers responded with two wins to end the tournament.
After beating the Rio Rancho junior varsity team on Friday, Magdalena (3-2) were matched against Alamo’s Lady Cougars (2-1) on Saturday. The Lady Cougars had lost the opener to Hot Springs on Thursday but came back to beat Mountainair, 52-49, on Friday.
The consolation championship was another area rivalry game and the Lady Steers dominated most of the game. By the end of the first quarter Magdalena was up 21-3.
Alamo struggled with the fast pace of the game. The Lady Cougars weren’t able to control the Steers offense and by halftime the home team had built a 50-12 lead. The Steers continued to rack up the points and finished the game with a decisive 77-20 win.
“We need to go back to the drawing board,” said Alamo head coach Chee Apachito, who took over the reins this season. “We have a young team and have a lot of learning to do, but we will be in there.”
For Alamo, sophomore Tiyanna Ganadonegro made the all-tournament team.
“She played really well and gave 110 percent,” said Chee.
Coach Sanchez said part of the Steers’ game plan was to keep Alamo senior Neva Apachito in check.
“Alamo has a good group and will do well in their division,” he said. “One of the keys to stopping them is stopping Neva. She is a good one, but we stopped her.”
For the Lady Steers, Kameron Armstrong was the all-tournament player. She scored 13 points in the win over Alamo.
Camille Mansell also had a good game.
“She isn’t scoring, but she is doing the little things,” coach Sanchez said of the senior. “The younger girls are looking up to her for overcoming adversity.”
The Steers are looking forward to another tournament Dec. 9-11 in Moriarty, while Alamo is going to Mescalero for another tournament on the same dates.
Tularosa won the girls tournament, knocking off Mescalero.
Contact Kelcie MacRunnels