NMMI Sports Press
HOBBS — There were times in Saturday’s basketball game vs. New Mexico Junior College that the Broncos looked amazing. Then there were other times — especially when they were shooting — they looked anything but.
The good times came in the second half, so coach Ralph Davis’ assessment that the 80-66 game “was closer than that” was apt.
“We had it down to six then they made a big shot and they kind of got away with some free throws, things like that,” the coach said.
Playing in the final game of the Thunderbird Classic, NMMI came out strong, getting the first two points on free throws by Will Sessoms, then stretching the lead to 10-6, with six of the NMMI points coming from DeMarco Enoch.
But then the Bronco shooting went cold, with the T-Birds going on an 11-0 run over two-and-a-half minutes. Enoch finally put in another two NMMI points, then the teams traded baskets until NMJC went on a 12-0 run.
The Broncos got their final points of the half on a trey by Davis Steelman, but the Thunderbirds led 40-22 heading into the locker room.
“We’ve got to do a better job of making the shots we’re taking, for sure,” Davis said.
The host team stretched that lead to 46-22 early in the second half, but NMMI finally started turning it on.
During an 11-minute span — which included three 3-pointers by Steelman and one by Logan Santiago — the Broncos closed the gap to 65-51. Another trey by Steelman; two free throws from Lenny Kadisha; and seven straight points by Enoch and NMMI only trailed 72-63, before the T-Birds began making their free throws in the final two minutes.
“We definitely picked up the intensity in the second half,” Davis said. “We did a great job not turning the ball over. We started the weekend off with 30 and we finished with 11 this last game. We’re getting shots up. Now we’ve just got to make those shots, for sure.”
Steelman had a double-double for the Broncos, picking up 21 points and 11 rebounds while Enoch added 21 points. Thunderbird Roosevelt Smart was the big scorer on the night, picking up 27 points, including three 3s.
“Hopefully Maurice Coleman comes back and is healthy for us,” the coach said. “That’s a piece we’d like to get back on the court for us as well too. But in his absence guys were stepping up for us. DeMarco Enoch had a great game. Steelman with 11 rebounds. We’re just going to keep working and improve on it.”
The Broncos do need to pick up their shooting percentage across the board — field goals, treys and free throws — but Davis knows it’s a long season with time to improve.
“We’ve got to get this thing right,” he said. “This is a long year. We’d like to be right this weekend, but we want to make sure come conference that we’re right. But we’d like to get it going in Yuma this Friday.”