Warriors tame the Tigers on senior night

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Last Tuesday evening possibly marked the last time the Warriors seniors took to the hardcourt at Socorro High School, and those seniors didn’t disappoint.

Michael Padilla scored 18 points, Dylan Gallegos scored 10 and Adam Paz had eight to lead the Warriors to an 84-53 District 3-3A win over Hot Springs.

The Warriors improved to 9-15 on the season and 2-1 in league play. They are now 6-2 in their last eight games.

Senior night is always an emotional night for any team, and Socorro handled the pressure well.

“Our main thing was to stay focused,” head coach Lawrence Baca said.

“I tried to tell the guys, we can’t take anybody lightly. We have to execute our game plan and I think we did for the most part.”

Padilla scored five straight points in the first quarter to give Socorro a 20-11 lead with less than a minute remaining. He then stole the ball and converted a fast-break layup at the buzzer to extend the Warriors’ lead to 23-13 heading into the second.

With five minutes left in the second quarter Ethan Smith converted an old fashioned three-point play to give Socorro a 34-15 lead, and that was pretty much all she wrote.

The Warriors held a 62-39 advantage after three quarters then easily rolled to the 31-point victory.

Smith led Socorro with 20 points, Matthew Jojola scored 11 and Brendon Rosales added eight. K.C. Swaim led Hot Springs with 12.

The home team may have won big, but saying goodbye to three quality young men is never an easy task.

“These are always the hardest days of coaching,” Baca said. “Those are three great kids, and good athletes. They’re going to be missed. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know these kids. I’ve enjoyed it. They’ve been a part of this family and they’ll always be a part of this family.”

The good news for Socorro is that as of Tuesday the season was by no means over. The Warriors traveled to Silver City last night to take on the Colts, and the outcome could have very well put them in the postseason.

“We have to be disciplined enough to pull it out, run an offense and execute a half-court offense,” Baca said.

“If they allow us to set up our half-court offense they’ll have trouble with our big guys underneath. If we can handle the pressure and know when to run our half-court offense, we’ll be OK.”

For on last night’s game read the Feb. 27 edition of El Defensor Chieftain.