Warriors score first win of the season

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The Socorro Warriors played their usual strong first quarter on Tuesday evening at Hatch Valley, running their plays, nailing their shots and exhibiting good defense. The difference on Tuesday was that they didn’t stop playing after the first quarter. They continued on to win their first game of the season, with a score of 86 – 61.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain Reporter: Warriors’ Ethan Smith goes up for the shot against the Belen Eagles on Dec. 14, in Belen. Smith was a lead shooter in both last Saturday’s game and in Tuesday’s game at Hatch Valley.

“It’s our best game of the season so far, especially on the defensive side,” Coach Lawrence Baca said. “The boys were excited. Hopefully it’s the beginning of a lot more of them (wins).”

The team still needs work keeping its momentum in the second half, which will hopefully come with more conditioning and as the season progresses.

The Warriors lost their game against long-time rivals Belen Eagles on Dec. 14, 66 – 46, after coming out strong in the first quarter, then losing steam at the start of the second quarter. Foul troubles early in the game, partially due to severe calls from the referees, caused them trouble from the start. The Warriors made a small come-back early in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points to the Eagles’ two in the first two minutes of play, but the Eagles offense continued to get by the Warriors defense and scored just about every time they put the ball up under the net.

“We kind of got comfortable the second half and let them play with us a little more than we should of,” Coach Baca said of Tuesday night’s game. “But overall it was their effort and intensity.”

Matthew Jojola led the team in scoring in both games, with 11 points against the Eagles, and 21 points against the Hatch Valley Bears. Ethan Smith was the second leading scorer, also in both games, with 10 points against the Eagles and 15 points against the Bears. Zeb Esquivel was a close third in the Hatch Valley game with 14 points. Will Brannon and Gibo Padilla were also on the board with 11 points and nine points on Tuesday evening, respectively.

Tuesday’s win was a good team effort, according to the coach. As second string was rotated in, they kept the momentum of the game, and didn’t lose a beat, especially in the first half.

“The bench did a great job as they got into the game and did not skip a beat,” Coach Baca said of Tuesday’s game. “They all contributed and it was a good team win!”

Junior varsity (B team) and the C team also won their game against Hatch Valley. The JV score was 66 – 45, and C team blew out their opponents 57 – 10.

The Warriors will travel to Pojoaque on Thursday for a tournament this weekend.