Finley gym was packed as more than 170 youth players came out on November 26 to tryout for the 2019-2020 City of Socorro Youth Basketball League. Boys and girls from the ages of 4 to 13 hit the court throughout the evening with coaches evaluating from the sidelines.
Games were staggered based on age groups with grade school participants going for spots in the Pinon league. Ballers were pitted against each other in more than 20 games, practices and scrimmages in a mix of age and gender on the court. Inclusive to all budding young players from around the county, kids from Magdalena, Alamo Navajo and Lemitar were also in attendance.
Rather than using names, each participant was given a number to help minimize name bias. Coaches for the upcoming season wrote down the players that impressed them on the court before convening to draft their teams schoolyard style afterwards in the Finley Gym office.
Warriors head coach Jared Marquez volunteered to grab a whistle and proceeded to put several of the young players through a series of drills before the night ended, always supporting them by repeating “It’s not a race, take your time”. Basics like shooting, running the floor and dribbling between the legs were just a few of the things Marquez taught.
“We got asked by the city to come out here and help the kids run drills and teach them fundamentals,” he said. “I’m close with Cindy (Rivera) and if there’s anything we can do to help our Warriors family is always going to say yes. Building that community relationship is huge for these kids as they grow up. I saw nothing but good things tonight. Even when the kids made mistakes they had a smile on their face. It is very important to get them going and involved early on.”
Several players from the Warriors varsity team were also in attendance helping to support the kids. Junior Chris Gutierrez played three seasons with the youth program before joining the Warriors in 2017.
“Ever since I was really young I liked to play basketball,” he said. “Stuff like this keeps the kids out of trouble. Plus when they get to the high school level they’ll be much more ready to play. It’s the next generation of Warriors out here.”
Once teams are finalized coaches and players will get together to come up with team names and a regular season schedule which will begin on January 4. Weekly practices will take place throughout the winter.
Team names and players heading into the 2020 season;
"Warriors" - Derek Grain, Lorenzo Gonzales, Haidynn Martinez, Kiko Lopez, Kyndryk Gonzales, Orion Jaramillo, Jabey Sierra, Karina Sierra.
"Cavaliers" - Matthew Price, Johnaven Robles, Tianna Reichenbach, Dylan Romero, Anthony Romero, Bobby Hernandez, Jaylah Mirabal, Paige Gonzales, Jacob Gonzales.
"Celtics" - Matayeu Alonzo, Abran Chavez, Julian Romero, Gabriel Romero, Gabriel Romero, Sebastian Aafloy, Micah Burleson, Jacob Mendoza, R. Damien Torres, Annallee Eaker, Javon Ware.
"Lakers" - Katalina Lopez, Jesiah Alvarado, Bailyn Herron, Jeremiah Lujan, Isaac Silva, Danielle Guerro, Alysen Acosta, Ethan Leclerc, Aiden Aragon, Arielle Aragon.
"Tarheels" - Khloe Anaya, Mario Rank, Miguel Giron, Elijah Foss, Nathaniel Foss, Zhianna Giron, Jeremiah Torres, Ryan Crespin.
"Roadrunners" - Chloe Montoya, Donavon Armijo, Nikiah Castillo, Ares Martinez, Juan Carlos Soto-Paz, Jiayi Zhu, Abigail Meza-Castanon, Jerious Apachito, Kacilyn Bennet.
"Raptors" - Jisela Estrada, Jazmine Alvarado, Leonardo Rodarte, Miguel Armedariz, Chase Fivecoat, Tyre Fivecoat, Rees Lucero, Sean Benavidez, Tyler Marcum.
"Lobos" - Aryanah Benavidez, Zooey Hartleroad, NyAsia Vallejos, Margaret Dean, Allyson Sosa, Estevan Flores, Beverly Rincones, Jordan York, Uzziah Chavez, James Price, Felipe Vigil.