Lady Steers kept busy this summer
While fall prep sports are just beginning practices, the Magdalena High School girls basketball team has just finished playing games.
Head coach Wally Sanchez said the Lady Steers had a busy summer, participating in eight camps around the state throughout the summer. What the coach liked best about the camps was that each offered teams the opportunity to play games against other schools.
“We can practice all we want, but if we’re not getting game experience to apply what we learned in practice, it’s not going to help that much.”
The coach said Magdalena girls played close to 50 games at camps this summer.
“That’s comparable to two seasons and puts us ahead of schedule for the coming year,” he said.
Magdalena had a greater presence at each of the camps they attended in places like Española, Grants, Socorro, Belen, Los Lunas and elsewhere.
“We have always taken our varsity team to basketball camps so we can play games and it’s always been our goal to bring the junior varsity to those camps, and this summer we were able to do that,” he said. “We had some real surprises this summer with girls now progressing through the program. That’s going to create more competition within the program, which is good.”
Sanchez has kept the Lady Steers among the most competitive teams in the small school ranks all eight years of his tenure. They’ve never missed the state playoffs while he’s been in charge and have made several strong runs at a state title, but have never won it.
Last year, they bowed out earlier than usual, though, losing in the quarterfinals.
Sanchez said 27 players participated in the off-season program, and some of them even attended individual camps in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho on their own.
“I’m just pleased they’re out there doing something to better their game,” the coach said. “We’re fortunate to have athletes who want to achieve.”
Sanchez said he’s always on the lookout for girls who have that same desire. And in Magdalena, where the Lady Steers basketball is big, they’re easy to find.
“It’s not too hard when you have girls that love the game,” he said. “It’s not hard when we have some success and girls want to be a part of that. It’s not too hard when we talk about tradition, and you have players whose sisters and cousins played in the program and even their parents … It’s a day-to-day thing, and we try to build off that.”