The stands were packed for the third day finale of the “M” Mountain tournament when crosstown rivals clashed.
A still undefeated team came out on top with Magdalena defeating the Socorro Warriors 62-43.
“We’re just trying to improve every day,” Magdalena Head Coach Jory Mirabal said. “We gave up a big lead early and had to get back to playing Magdalena basketball. The best thing is that our guys are doing a great job playing in a changing environment and they did that here tonight. Normally during tournaments that involve travel we do a lot of team building activities but being able to come so close to home our guys were able to stick together very well which is why we came out with a win.”
It was a chippy game from the start with Magdalena senior Owen Olney and Warriors junior Javon Marquez having to be separated on the court after a hard foul when the score was 4-3.
From there the Steers went on a big run that included a three by Joren Mirabal, put-back rebound off of a free throw by Jaxson Mirabal and hard-in-the-paint work by Olney. His dunk early ignited both sides of the stands and forced Warriors Head Coach Jared Marquez to call timeout at 27-4.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Olney said. “We had one early and Socorro had one late. All that we can do is keep playing together.”
In the third quarter, Socorro was able to cut it down to double digits thanks to big shots by senior Payson Hicks, and strong defense by junior, Javon Martinez.
“We struggled in the first quarter,” Martinez said. “Our team needs to clean up and work together because when we do you can see it as you did in this game.”
“Basically we had one rough quarter and that really hurt us,” Hicks added. “I hit some big shots but I’m just doing my job in order to help my team. I definitely think our team took a big step forward. We just need to put four quarters together.”
Magdalena’s on the floor general Kyle Julian seemed to recover from his lagging left knee injury, as he got into mid-season form while scoring multiple clutch shots for the Steers. He also had respect for his opponents off the court.
“Coming into this game we all knew that it is the days of Socorro versus Magdalena,” he said. “A lot of people think that we don’t like each other but at the end of the day we’re playing the same game. I’m not perfect just like everyone else. I just try to bring it on the court and respect my opponents no matter who that is.”
Coming out of the locker room Head Coach Jared Marquez was disappointed having lost to Magdalena for a second time this season.
“Our team had a really bad stretch of about ten minutes,” he said. “But we continue to preach doing the little things and maybe we can turn the score around. Overall our kids preformed amazingly during this tournament. Going forward we’re focused on strength and conditioning heading into the rest of the season.”
Currently the Steers remain undefeated at 13-0 and on top in District 6 standings with a four game road trip before a home matchup against Quemado on January 25.
The Warriors stand at 7-5 on the season and third in District 3 standings. They will face off tonight at home against West Las Vegas.