Warriors score huge hardcourt victory

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The roundball Warriors' record might not suggest as much, but hands down they've been playing much-improved basketball as of late. Socorro (5-13) put together two solid games against West Las Vegas and Portales last week, and as of Jan. 22 it looks like the Warriors finally put it all together in a convincing 73-63 win over Fort Wingate (11-6).

The roundball Warriors' record might not suggest as much, but hands down they've been playing much-improved basketball as of late. Socorro (5-13) put together two solid games against West Las Vegas and Portales last week, and as of Jan. 22 it looks like the Warriors finally put it all together in a convincing 73-63 win over Fort Wingate (11-6).

It's no secret that head coach Lawrence Baca has simply been trying to get his squad to play a full 32 minutes to its potential, and a solid win against a ranked, quality team couldn't have come at a better time.

"I think it was probably the best game we've played all year long, by far," Baca said. "I can't say enough of these kids. They all stepped up and played their best game of the season.

"We came out of the gates fast, we took the lead from the very start, and we kept the lead until the very end. Everybody stepped up and played a tremendous game."

Socorro built up a 21-point lead in the first half and, in a manner some have been both expecting and hoping for this season, held on for the win.

Beating a ranked team in Wingate was a good thing, but beating it in the fashion Socorro did might be even better.

Brendon Rosales is out with a knee sprain and veteran guard Michael Padilla scored only one point. But Baca said the senior point guard Padilla, normally the Warriors' leading scorer, is making waves in other aspects of the game.

"He did a lot of other good things," the head ball coach said of his point guard. "He had a lot of assists and rebounds. He ran the floor and handled the pressure. He got everything going."

Guard Adam Paz has also helped carry the torch as of late, playing both the one and two spots efficiently. The athletic senior has made noticeable strides in protecting the ball and continuing to emerge as a legitimate scoring threat.

"Adam stepped it up big time the last few games," Baca said.

And gaining a little momentum couldn't come at a better time for Socorro. While no one on the team would use it as an excuse, the Warriors have faced a convincingly difficult schedule, and they've been going through the process of breaking in an inexperienced team. At this juncture in the season, a little aplomb might go a very long way.

"It's just a matter of gaining a little confidence," Baca said. "It is a big win. It's a big confidence booster. All year long we've played with these teams. We've showed glimpses we can pretty much play with anybody. It was just a matter of us putting a full game together."

Socorro opens up District 3-3A play at Hot Springs (3-13) Feb. 1. Tipoff in Truth or Consequences is slated for 6:30 p.m.