Local rivalry ends in win for Steers

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The 3A Socorro Warriors met the 1A Magdalena Steers to the sound of a roaring crowd on Tuesday night in Socorro. Magdalena took the game in the fourth quarter, with 68 – 77 the final score.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain Reporter: Socorro’s Ethan Smith goes up for the layup with Magdalena defender No. 32 Austin Plentychief attempting the block. Socorro’s No. 35 Matthew Jojola looks on. Smith and Jojola were the Warriors’ top shooters for the game, which ended in a 68 - 77 win for Magdalena Steers.

Socorro got the jump and was off to a fast start with a drive to the hoop, but missed their shot. Shooting improved rapidly, with a 6 – 6 tie in the first four minutes of play. Socorro was nailing their 3-pointers, but also nailed the fouls in the first half, helping the Steers keep up on points. Magdalena closed the first quarter in the lead, 17 – 13.

Fouls continued to hurt the Warriors, who ended the first half with 10 fouls to Magdalena’s three. It was a tie game, 35 all.

Magdalena Steers were nowhere to be found after their own shots in the first quarter, missing several re-up opportunities, but regained their momentum in the second half.

The teams held a one- to three-point spread throughout the third quarter, but the Steers pulled ahead in the fourth, broadening the gap to 10 points.

A rowdy crowd kept the tempo up, and Socorro closed the gap again with a couple of steals and some good outside shots. It wasn’t quite enough to win the game.

“It was a good game,” Coach Jory Mirabal said. “We were expecting for them to play at their toughest, and we got what we expected. My guys did well in controlling their emotions, and we held the game.”

Magdalena’s #32, Austin Plentychief, didn’t hold his emotions the entire game, drawing a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter. Coach Mirabal pulled him out of the game.

Magdalena Steer Dre Montoya, No. 25, was the leading scorer with 23 points, and a 100 percent average. No. 2 Tyler Julian was close behind with 20 points. Julian missed two free throws, but hit all of his field shots.

Socorro’s No. 35 Matthew Jojola was the top scorer for the Warriors, with No. 33 Ethan Smith close behind at 21 points. Each missed a perfect average by one missed free throw.

Coach Lawrence Baca felt good about the game.

“We’re playing better,” Coach Baca said. “Magdalena is a good team. We had them on size, but they run up and down the court and have a great shot percentage. We couldn’t get the ball inside to Ethan, and they beat us on shots. They were a tough team to face, and we played well.”

The Socorro Warriors face another tough opponent Thursday when they travel to St. Michaels, starting at 4 p.m.

The Magdalena Steers travel to Hatch Valley on Friday at 5 p.m.