Techies battle Townies in furious basket play
Some said the May 7 well attended basketball game on campus at New Mexico Tech between the “Techies and the Townies” proved to be as exciting as a meeting between two semi-pro teams. The friendly yet fiercely competitive game went down to a wire finish with the school’s intramural team, Spiked Punch winning the championship trophy 65-59 in the last minute over the city sponsored league team Roll Your Own.
The game was as personally intense as any serious competition can be. It was a case of talented players versus talented players challenging each other and bringing out the athletic best from each other.
Spiked Punch was this year’s intramural champions on campus. Arrangements were made by Annine Gabaldon the school’s physical recreation specialist and Josh Kern the city’s recreational director to provide an arena for the Townies and Techies challenge.
Annine Gabaldon assists Melissa Begay who is the Director Physical Recreation and student activities for New Mexico Tech. Gabaldon primarily oversees the intramural basketball.
The results provided the enthusiastic spectators with the kind of drama that draws them into the game. The school and the community have sponsored this kind of athletic competition for years, and apparently the friendly familiarity has thrived.
Early in the game it became blatantly obvious that each team had nurtured a genuine cohesiveness. Percentages of shots made were high for both teams. RYO got off to an 11-2 lead but Spiked Punch responded, tying the game at 13 and then going ahead a point.
From then on the lead was exchanged on a tit for tat kind of way throughout the game.
The score was tied 46-46 with 13 minutes left in the game. Then with exactly one minute left in the second half, the game was tied at 59 apiece. Unmissed free throws began to give the techies the advantage and they won with the final score of 65-59.
Cade Payne a Tech player/coach originally from Bloomfield graduates this year with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has played with mostly the same team members since he began at Tech as a freshman in 2009.
“This trophy means a lot to the school for the Techies to beat the Townies every now and then,” Cade said. “They definitely beat us more than we beat them, this specific team. It was just a hard fought game, really. They were down, we were up, we were up they were down. It was just a good game; a lot of fun. They’re a bunch of good guys. They want to win, we want to win…”
Cade said he’d been playing basketball his whole life and this particular win was a good way to “go out” now that he’s leaving school and entering the world of work. He said he would be working with Conoco.
“It was exciting,” Begay said. “Boys from both teams looked like they were having a lot of fun. It seemed that Spiked Punch was pushing RYO to their limit. That’s what it looked like to me. Our guys were excited all week long just talking about it. They kept coming into my office to check on the arrangements.
“The crowd was into it because it was such a close game. Both sides were making a good percentage of their shots. Everybody had a good time.”
City Councilor Michael Olguin attended the game. Among other things he is involved with helping to organize and promote the city of Socorro’s recreation department functions.
“The city’s Recreation Department has been doing many things to provide opportunities to engage in activities for people of all ages,” Olguin said. “This is a perfect example of the city and Tech coming together providing events that unite us as a single community. The players for the city may be a little bit older but they showed how much talent and heart the team has. They really fought hard to win.”
Members of this year’s Spiked Punch team are: Cade Payne, Jake Maxey, Cole Maxey, Wade Thomas, Lindsay Candelaria, Zach Bradshaw, Eric Angelos, Lane Pablo and Enrique Kordell. The Roll Your Own team members are Evan Grain, Miguel Saavedra, Anthony Baca, Chris Baldanaro, Manuel Lucero and Tim Townsend.