Steers win at Smokey Bear, remain undefeated

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The Magdalena boys basketball team won yet another tournament over this past weekend as it took care of Reserve, Honda and Capitan to take home the Smokey Bear Tournament Championship.

The first-place trophy is the third the Steers have hoisted so far this season, and probably more important they kept their unblemished record in tact. Magdalena is now a perfect 11-0 on the season.

Against Reserve (5-4) on Jan. 10, the Steers opened a 47-32 halftime lead and cruised to an 88-64 victory.

Sophomore Tyler Julian led the way for Mag, scoring 26 points, dishing out six assists and recording three steals and a rebound. Julian scored five of his team's eight total 3-pointers on the night.

Sophomore Dre Montoya scored 20 points with two assists, four rebounds and four steals, while junior Sedrick Apachito had 19 points, 10 rebounds and a block. Senior Josh Sisneros chipped in 10 points of his own.

The Steers had 13 steals and 12 assists as a team and turned the ball over only 11 times.

On Thursday Mag played 9-3 Hondo, and while the halftime margin wasn't quite what it was against Reserve, the Steers used a huge third quarter to pull away from the Eagles.

Magdalena led 37-25 at the half and perhaps left Hondo within striking distance, but the Steers went on a 19-3 third-quarter run to put the game out of reach. The final was 67-40.

Montoya was the leading scorer Friday, dropping 25 points and shooting seven from 11 behind the arc. He also grabbed seven rebounds and stole the ball five times. Apachito scored 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to keep his double-double streak at nine consecutive games, and Julian added 16 points, six assists, seven steals and two rebounds.

In the championship final on Saturday against Capitan (9-3), the Steers went back to their method of trying to put the game away early. Mag opened up a 42-16 halftime lead and rolled to a 72-50 victory and another trophy for the case.

Julian went nuts again, scoring 31 points, handing out two assists and recording three steals. Montoya scored 19, Apachito dropped 11 and freshman Michael Chambers threw in seven points.

The only bad news during the win was that Apachito's double-double streak ended as he had only seven rebounds, but he's still recorded one in nine of Magdalena's 11 games so far this season.

On average, the Steers shot 48 percent from the field during the tournament, including 41 percent from 3-point range. They also turned the ball over just 41 times in all three games combined.

Magdalena will open up District 2-1A competition on Jan. 18 when it travels to Santa Fe to play Desert Academy. The Wildcats are 5-3 on the season. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.

The Steers return to home action when they play host to Mountainair at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 19.