Steers drop road game to Warriors

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After the Magdalena boys beat To'hajiilee off a late Dre Montoya 3-pointer on Feb. 1, they knew they'd be in for a dog fight when they faced the Warriors on the road last Friday night.

What they may not have known is just how difficult of a trip it would prove to be.

To'hajiille outscored the Steers by eight points in the first quarter and nine points on the third quarter to take an 84-69 win over Mag.

With the loss, the Steers fell to 22-2 overall and 11-2 in District 2-1A, while the Warriors improved to 19-2 (13-1.)

Playing a quality team on the road in a hostile setting was already a rigorous test for the young Steers, and shooting 29 percent from the field compared to To'hajiilee's 60 percent made that task even harder.

"They had one of those nights. It was their game," Mag head coach Jory Mirabal said.

"You have to give them credit."

Magdalena played the Warriors close in the second quarter and outscored the home team in the fourth, but the early To'hajiilee lead was simply too much for the Steers to overcome.

On paper the score may not look too attractive, but the fact remains that Mag is a very good ball club — a lock for the playoffs, and they still have a lot of basketball left to play.

"We can learn and go from it. They didn't hand out any trophies last night," Mirabal said.

Obviously it remains to be seen how the Steers will respond to the loss in a game situation, but the head ball coach has faith his young squad remains focused.

"I know the way we practiced today they're going to respond just fine," he said. "I think it's good motivation for us to work on some things and play better next time. I think it's just a matter of fine-tuning stuff that we've proven we've done well in the past."

The Steers are also still trying to get back to the brand of ball they were playing before early January when they temporarily lost some starters for various reasons. Mirabal said his team is still trying to clean a few things up and get back to a place it was a few weeks ago.

"I think the biggest thing is just getting that consistency back," he said. "I think we have the ability to play even better than what we were playing before. We played really well in spurts last night, we just didn't maintain it. We are going to catch everybody's best shot. Most teams with our relative lack of experience don't find themselves ranked second in state. We still have more things we want to do. We're not necessarily content with what we've done."