Magdalena Steers thrash milquetoast Timberwolves

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It was an inside job.

East Mountain proved Rio Chadde and Miles Parscal’s slumpbuster, as the posts combined for 32 points to shepherd the Magdalena boys basketball team to a 69-31 thrashing over the visiting Timberwolves. The T’Wolves played milquetoast basketball, making Saturday’s District 3-2A tilt marginally competitive.

To wit, East Mountain ended the first half with more turnovers (14) than points (12), a superlative, T’Wolves head coach Hamilton Doyle said, could be explained because his squad was missing point guard Derrick Merkey, who was sidelined for the fourth consecutive game with a twisted ankle.

“A point guard really makes that difference, because he gets the ball set up,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have to worry about ball-handling. Everybody can play their role. But when you’re asking your three guard and two guard to bring up the ball, and they’re used to shooting the ball, that’s asking them to do something completely different.”

Steers’ head coach Jory Mirabal was unmoved by the suggestion that one player could impact the game so profoundly — more so, because when the teams last met, Merkey was scoreless and assisted Magdalena on a number of turnovers.

“Life’s rough out here on the West,” Mirabal said, dismissively. “When we walked away from that last game, we didn’t walk away saying, ‘Man, I hope they don’t have that point guard again.’ We walked away saying, ‘Don’t let (Josh) Doyle get his feet set. And (Jonathon) Martin, we want to keep the ball away from him as best as we can.’”

That they did.

Martin, who scored 14 points in the teams’ first meeting, had only five points. And with Andy Hotz unsuccessfully captaining the T’Wolves offense, Doyle had his son, Josh, split ball-handling duties with Hotz. Typically a set-and-shoot player, Hamilton’s stats took a hit, as he scored only seven points and made one 3-pointer.

How the Steers (16-6, 4-1) won this one was a complete reversal of how they beat the T’Wolves at their place.

In that game, Magdalena hit 10 3s on the way to a 57-39 victory. The Steers still hit their fair share of triples — seven in all, bringing them to 117 on the year — but three of those came in the final three minutes, 37 seconds.

Chadde and Parscal, who were no-shows in a pivotal game against Bosque School, redeemed themselves from that 2-of-11 shooting performance.

They accounted for 13 of the Steers’ 19 points in the first quarter. Chadde finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

“I was in a slump, I know that,” he said. “I wasn’t having a lot of fun out there (the last few games). … If I really can’t have a big game, it’s not really fun to me, because I’m not contributing to the team.”

This time, Chadde was straight-up donating.

East Mountain, surprisingly, tried to man-up the Steers’ duo instead of doubling them whenever they got the ball in position on the block. And even when the T’Wolves mixed in 2-3 zone, and converged on Parscal and Chadde, they simply found the open man.

The charitable, affable big man hit Dre Montoya, who was battling the stomach flu, behind the 3-point line in the far corner for his only field goal of the afternoon, boosting the lead to 42-12 in the second quarter. It also gave Montoya his 54th triple of the season, two shy of tying former Socorro marksman Jared Marquez on the all-time state records list.

Doyle said the T’Wolves were caught between a rock and a hard place.

“You can’t afford to rotate down on the post players, because they hit perimeter shots,” he said. “So today, we pick our poison.”

Whatever the vial, it didn’t matter.

Eventually, the T’Wolves packed the middle, and that’s when Dyron Apachito took advantage.

He scored 11 points — three more than East Mountain mustered in the frame — in a one minute, 36 second fourth-quarter span. The senior spotted up from the near corner, burying back-to-back triples 27 seconds apart. He added a floater in the lane, before bookending his outburst with another 3-pointer.

“It was a like a two-man game with our posts,” Apachito said. “Pass it in. Guys collapse. Pass it back out. We have shooters.”

With the Steers’ inside-outside game working to perfection, the T’Wolves were forced to look from the outside in. They are in the District 3-2A cellar, still having not won a district game, despite a .500 overall record.

“For the last four games we’ve been in survival mode,” Doyle said. “But you can’t survive in this district.”

 


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