NMMI Sports Press
The Bronco basketball team came home to Cahoon Armory Friday with a big 118-67 win over the Northern New Mexico College JV squad in the nightcap of the Bronco Classic.
The score, said coach Ralph Davis, wasn’t surprising.
“A lot of teams have already played a JV or prep school team four times this year, and this is our first time playing a non-JUCO opponent,” he said. “So this is the result to be expected. We decided to start our season off with more challenges, but we have a few of these games scheduled just to work on some things and improve on some things.”
And while NMMI still needs to make improvements across the board, Davis was happy with the outcome.
“We liked what we saw,” he said. “We had a few guys out and that gave us a chance to see a few other guys, so we’ll go from there.”
The Broncos saw playing time from 11 team members, with 10 of those putting points on the board.
It took NMMI a few minutes to warm up — too much turkey, perhaps? — but after the Eagles took a 5-3 lead on a trey with 18:34 remaining in the first half, the Broncos went on a 16-0 run and never looked back. They led 41-12 with 7:00 left in the first half, and while six NNMC 3-pointers and three free throws helped cut the lead a bit in the final minutes, NMMI led 58-33 at the half.
The smallest lead for the Broncos in the second half was 25 points with 18:37 on the clock. After that, despite continued strong shooting from the outside by the Eagles, NMMI continued to stretch the margin.
The Broncos had one of their best nights shooting of the season — going .512 inside and .833 from outside — but Davis knows there’s still room for improvement.
“We’ve got to continue working on everything, to be quite honest,” he said. “We hit some 3s, but we still have to improve on that. We still have to improve on finishing, no matter who we’re playing. That was how we lost a few other games against other teams: missing layups in close games and all that. Just the fundamentals. We’ve got to continue getting better at those things and roll from there.”
NMMI had six players in doubles figures. Chukuka Emili led the way with 19 points, all two-pointers and free throws. He just missed a double double, picking up nine rebounds. Jake Valero had 18 points, including four 3s, while Davis Steelman tallied 15, nine of those points from the outside. Will Sessoms, Logan Santiago and James Walsh each put in 10 points, with Santiago getting two treys and Walsh one.
The score could have been a lot more lopsided if not for NNMC treys. The Eagles notched 12 of their own from the outside, with Larry Morinia III hitting five to lead all scorers with 22 points.
The victory was only the second of the season for the 2-8 Broncos, and Davis was happy to put another mark on the plus side of the ledger.
“Obviously, we’re happy with the results,” he said. “A few things could have ended up better, but naturally, we’ll take a win and try to build on that going into tomorrow.”
NMMI will host the Fort Bliss Army Base Knights at 3 p.m. Saturday, following a game between Howard College and the Eagles at 1 p.m.
Howard topped Fort Bliss in the tournament opener 91-66, but Ranger coach Albert Mayon said he was missing three of his top shooters, and with two of them back Saturday, he expects the match vs. the Broncos to be a lot closer.