Steers still hum around court despite effortless win

........................................................................................................................................................................................

You could almost hear Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” in the background.

Every possession mattered to the Magdalena boys basketball team. Even when they didn’t.

As such, Alamo Navajo drowned in a pool of its own malfeasance. And the Steers continued to sacrifice their bodies, spending part of the second half diving after loose balls despite the game being out of reach. Depending on perspective, it was a shining, or glaring, example of how Tuesday night’s game went: Magdalena simply outhustled and outmuscled the Cougars on the way to a 70-24 win at Steers gym.

“Effort’s never been a question for us,” head coach Jory Mirabal said. “That is an epitome of what we are as a program.”

It’s also flew in the face of what amounted to a gutless performance for the Cougars, who trailed 16-5 after a quarter and never bothered to put up much of a fight the remainder of the game.

Cougars’ coach Raymond Apachito put it rather plainly.

“It’s on and off, on and off (with them),” he said. “And they know it, too.”

The Cougars went the final 4:56 of the first quarter without a field goal. Their best player, point guard Elijahwon Apachito, didn’t score his first points till eight and a half minutes into the contest. He scored five of his seven points in the second quarter and was a non-factor from there on out. Unlike in the teams’ first meeting, Melcom Thomas wasn’t a threat, finishing with six points.

On the other side of things, Duster Apachito led Magdalena out of the gates. He scored the team’s first six points. Miles Parscal’s three-point play stretched the lead out to 19-5 in the second quarter. And another four-plus-minute field goal drought for the Cougars sealed their fate.

Putting the dominance in context, the Steers finished with more rebounds (38), two fewer steals (22) and eight fewer assists (16) than the Cougars had points. Dre Montoya, Arquis Nelson and Daniel Hand also put up more combined points (34) than Alamo mustered, although Montoya took awhile to get his.

He was held scoreless for the entire first half, more a product of his shots rimming out than the Cougars’ defense. But he quickly erased any memories of the slump by scoring 12 straight points in the third quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put the count at 57-19 heading into the final eight minutes.

“It took me a whole half of basketball and half that third quarter to get rid of that,” he said. “It just overcomes you when you get that bad feeling.”

Nothing more appropriate could be said for the Cougars, who Duster Apachito said came in thinking they were going to overtake the Steers’ house. The friendly banter persisted even after the Steers drowned it out with a 65-28 win in the two’s first meeting this year.

“They said they were going to come in here and beat us and switch the whole game on us,” Apachito said.

Instead, it was much more of the same.

 


-- Email the author at iavilucea@dchieftain.com.