Thursday, February 4, 2010

Socorro Boys End Six-Game Losing Streak By Beating Hot Springs

By Michael Olguin Jr.
For the Mountain Mail

SOCORRO -- Coach Lawrence Baca has been optimistic about the young Socorro boys basketball team as of late, even with a six-game losing streak heading into their first district 3-3A matchup Tuesday night.
Socorro snapped its losing streak against the Hot Springs Tigers Tuesday night with a 79-53 win. Last Friday, the Warriors fell to the Valencia Jaguars, 57-51, followed by a 75-63 Saturday night loss to the Belen Eagles
“It does feel good to get back in the winning column,” Baca said. “The regular season was tough and it was good preparation for the remainder of the season,”
Socorro will continue their pursuit of a district championship on Friday, Feb. 5 when it hosts the winless Cobre Indians in the Warrior Dome. The Warriors will then hit the road to Hatch Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 9 to take on the Bears.
The Warriors look to be the odds-on favorites in District 3. District 3-3A has a combined 19-47 record this season including the Warriors’ 7-13 record. Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Tigers (8-11) had the best overall record in the district, but the Warriors showed they were the better team.
“I don’t think it is going to be any where near as tough as our regular season schedule,” Baca said of District 3-3A play. “We still need to stay focused and do our thing. We can’t have any lapses and we need to do what we need to do to get ready for the post season.”
Tuesday night the Warriors handled the Tigers with ease. Socorro jumped out to an early first quarter lead and never trailed. Socorro led 36-23 at halftime. With the Warriors up 74-41 in the fourth quarter, Baca rested his starters and allowed every Warrior player to see playing time.
Junior Jared Marquez had 20 points followed by senior Erik Garcia with 19.
Friday night, former head coach Dominick Romero paid a visit to the Warrior Dome where he was able to turn a struggling Warrior program into district champions. Both Baca and JV coach Robert Mata were picked by Romero to assist him during his four-year stay in Socorro.
“It was a good experience, I have a lot of respect for him (Romero), I have learned a lot from him and he got me into coaching,” Baca said of Romero. “It was kind of weird because we use a lot of the same stuff he used in Socorro.”
“I think we are two evenly matched teams and that Socorro has a solid team this year,” said Romero. “They will do well in district and make another deep run at state.”
The game was a close back-and-forth game with the Warriors having a 27-26 halftime lead.
The Jaguars (7-14) took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors by eight.
Valencia maintained control in the fourth quarter giving the Warriors their fifth straight loss.
Garcia led the Warriors with 13 points and five assists. Senior Andrew Contreras contributed 12 points and seven rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the floor. Junior Zach Esquivel rounded of the Warrior scoring with 10 points. The Jaguar defense was able to hold leading scorer Marquez to just 5 points.
The Belen-Socorro rivalry has been ongoing for decades and has included many heated, close battles in almost every sport. Saturday night was no exception. The Warriors looked to have an early advantage in the first quarter taking an early 19-15 first quarter lead behind three, three-pointed from Marquez.
Belen countered, going on an 11-2 run to take a 26-21 lead in the second quarter. Three more three-pointers by Marquez gave the Warriors the lead once again at 30-28.
The Eagles went an anther 10-0 run, this time giving them the lead for good. Belen led the rest of the game and took a 75-63 win.
“This was another one of the close competitive games and we just came out on the short end of the stick,” said Baca.
Marquez led the Warriors with 18 points followed by Esquivel with 12 and Contreras had 10 points and seven rebounds.

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