Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Era For Socorro Boys Hoops

By Michael Olguin

SOCORRO --- Dawning a new coach, a new gymnasium floor and a new attitude, the Socorro Boys‘ Basketball team look to embark on a mission to reclaim the District 3-3A crown and clear the state quarterfinal hurdle that has plagued them the last few years.
Lawrence Baca will be at the helm this season as he makes the leap from seven years as the junior varsity coach to the head coach position.
“I am very excited about it,” Baca said about replacing one-year coach Hamilton Doyle. “Every coach dreams of getting to the next level.”
Baca explains that the transition will not be a difficult one since he has been a part of the Warrior program for seven years.
“I have been with the program the last seven years. I know the kids and the kids know me. That has made the transition a lot easier.”
Baca will be joined by Robert Mata who will be the junior varsity coach. Mata has also been with the Warrior program the past five seasons. Mark Sanchez will complete the coaching staff, taking over the C-Team.
The Warriors will have a solid group of seniors that Baca will count on to provide the leadership the team will need to compete against the rigorous schedule Socorro is faced with this season.
The senior group includes four year varsity member, Erik Garcia.
Garcia is looking forward to finishing off his high school career in a strong way with a strong team.
“It’s going to be a good team,” Garcia said. “Defense is key this year. I don’t think offense will be a problem. I am looking forward to this being a successful year while having a lot of fun.”
“I will be looking to Erik to take a leadership role. Erik has been on Varsity for four years so he will play a very important role on our team,” said Baca.
Also providing some key experience will be senior Kenneth DeCosta who saw a significant amount of varsity minutes last season. Avery Ngo, Sky Chadde, and Andrew Contreras round off the list of seniors.
Juniors Jared Marquez and Zach Esquivel should also give the Warriors some offensive firepower.
“Jared and Zach have a lot of experience as well and I will be expecting them to step up,” said Baca.
The Warriors’ frontcourt should have a solid presence with 6’3”, Sam Hale and 6’5”, Rio Chadde. Both Hale and Chadde are only sophomores but saw minutes last season on Varsity. Each of them showed their ability to compete at the Varsity level and could be a dangerous duo once they feel comfortable in the paint.
Last season, the Warriors were in fact the “road Warriors.” Socorro played well over half of their games on the road. This season the Warrior faithful will have an ample amount of time to enjoy their team at home with Socorro playing 13 games in the Warrior Dome. Socorro finished last season with a 15-14 record.
Baca is excited and optimistic about the upcoming schedule.
“There are a lot of big games this year,” said Baca. “We probably have one of the hardest schedules in 3A.”
Two notable home games will be against the Sandia Prep Sundevils and the Pojoaque Elks. Sandia Prep advanced to the 3A state semifinals last season before losing to eventual state champions Hope Christian. Pojoaque is also a 3A powerhouse, winning the State Championship two seasons ago. Socorro will host Pojoaque on Dec. 12.
Also on the schedule this season is a trip to St. Michael’s. The Horsemen made it as far as the state championship last season. Socorro narrowly lost to the Horsemen last year and this year could be just as exciting.
One more noteworthy game will be the first round of the Annual Ben Lujan Tournament in Pojoaque starting on Dec. 21. Socorro will go up against 4A powerhouse Los Alamos which boasts their 6’11” forward, Alex Kirk, who recently committed to play for the University of New Mexico Lobos.
“This schedule will definitely prepare us for the state playoffs,” said Baca.
The Warriors’ season will begin Monday, Dec. 7 as they host the Grants Pirates.

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