Rams slip past Warriors at Hope Tourney

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After dropping a hard-fought contest to Portales on Jan. 18 in the Hope Christian Invitational, the Warriors basketball team rebounded with an 81-47 win over Hatch Valley on Jan. 19.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Gene Jaramillo runs the floor for Socorro during the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ game against Hatch Valley in Albuquerque on Jan. 19. Jaramillo scored six points in the Socorro win.

On Friday afternoon, Socorro strung together a solid effort and went blow for blow with the Rams (9-6), but Portales outscored the Warriors 18-10 in the third quarter and held on tight for the victory.

Against the Bears during the tournament’s final day, Socorro built up a 49-28 halftime lead and coasted to the 34-point win. The win marked the third time this season the Warriors (4-13) have beaten Hatch.

While Socorro dropped two games over the weekend, it had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, and it’s definitely making positive strides as the season wears on. The Warriors look like they’re proving to themselves, bit by bit, that they are more than capable of developing offensive consistency and putting together complete games. Ten players scored for Socorro against Hatch, and four of those scored double digits.

“It’s a big confidence boost to get a win anytime,” senior guard Adam Paz said. “We’re starting to click pretty good. We’re all starting to work together.”

A key for the Warriors in the coming weeks might come in the form of their ability to stay calm, keep positive and realize that this team is a work in progress and there’s still plenty of time to continue gelling and make a little noise when district play commences in eight days.

Many teams could have very easily fallen apart after a rough start, and of course the Warriors get frustrated, but it looks like they’re doing a more than satisfactory job keeping things in perspective.

“For a bit there is (frustration), but then we end up getting over it,” Paz said. “We try to use that to get better and bring us back into the game. As of these last couple of games, we’re playing the way we should be and we’re starting to get a whole lot better. With a couple more games, come district time we’ll be ready to go a little bit further.”

Paz scored 14 points for Socorro in its win over Hatch, while Matt Jojola led the way for the Warriors with 22 points, 12 of those coming from 3-point range. Michael Padilla had 12 points, Ethan Smith scored 10 and Dylan Gallegos chipped in eight points.

Michel Castillo led the Bears with 14 points.

Socorro begins District 3-3A competition in Truth or Consequences when it takes on Hot Springs on Feb. 1. The Tigers are 3-12 so far this season.