Warriors fall to top seed
Through the entire season the Socorro Warriors boys basketball team had to battle to stay in the game. On Friday, March 10, they had one final conquest before they could get to the Class 3A state championship game, and they lost that battle. Top-seeded Hope Christian proved to be too much for the Warriors and, despite an impressive comeback, Socorro wasn’t able to overcome the Huskies, ending the Warriors’ championship bid with a 69-58 loss.
The game started out well enough for the Warriors, who stayed in lockstep with the Huskies throughout the first quarter. At the end of the period the Warriors were down only by one basket, 15-13.
“I knew we needed to come out fast and couldn’t afford to get down,” SHS head coach Lawrence Baca said.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that things started to get ugly. Hope was able to get off several quick baskets, while Socorro’s outside shots just weren’t falling. Scoring 26 points in the second quarter alone, Hope bolted to a big lead and by halftime led by what looked like an insurmountable 21 points.
“It was a bad second quarter that made the difference in the game, but we battled and gave ourselves a chance,” coach Baca said.
And battle back they did. Coming back onto the hardwood for the second half to a chorus of cheers from their loyal fans, the Warriors played with renewed energy.
Adjusting to Hope’s intense defense, the Warriors started sinking shots and closed the gap to just 13 points by the end of the third period. The fifth-seeded Warriors had their best quarter, racking up 20 points.
The momentum continued into the fourth quarter as the Socorro crowd was energized by their team’s play and the Warriors really started to show their true colors.
Socorro was able to keep within single digits of the Huskies through most of the fourth, at one point narrowing the gap to seven.
“We knew we could play with just about anybody,” Baca said. “Socorro should get the respect they deserve.”
Despite the disappointing loss, the Warriors achieved the goal of playing in the Pit — a goal they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.
“It is an honor,” said senior Jarred Marquez, who led Socorro with 23 points. “I have been playing for three years and this has always been our goal, and we got here and fought. I am proud, and I am going to hold my head up high.”
Ibrahim Maiga, who scored 16 points in the game, agreed.
“It feels great, we fought all year,” he said.
The Socorro boys were able to get to the Pit after they beat Robertson with a close 54-51 victory. Getting an impressive shot off at the last second Zach Esquivel was able to get the Warriors ahead while Marquez sealed the game with two solid free throws.
But on Thursday, luck wasn’t on their side.
“It was tough, we made it reasonable and had our chances but we couldn’t get a break,” Baca said.
This is the closest the Warriors have come to playing in a championship game in more than a decade.
While the Warriors’ season came to an end, Hope advanced to play Sandia Prep in the Class 3A championship game, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 at the Pit.
Contact Kelcie MacRunnels