NMMI Sports Press
The one thing the Colt boys basketball team can’t be accused of is lacking excitement. Thursday, NMMI and Hagerman played not just four quarters; not just five; but six, before the Bobcats finally limped off the court with a 74-72 victory.
And almost every minute of the game was moving at lightning speed. Hagerman is known for its run-and-gun style, and this game, NMMI matched that and more. The only time the game slowed down was at the charity stripe, and there was lots of time for the players to catch their breath there.
Both teams had 36 total fouls and both teams saw numerous starters go to the bench. Jesus Luy, Juan Reyna and Emilio Maldonado fouled out, while Sebastian Garcia, Christopher Piñon and Jakob Bejarano drew five fouls each. The Colts also saw less than five minutes of action from Fausto Baranzini, who drew a technical foul early in the first quarter and sat the bench the rest of the half, then drew his second early in the third.
And all those fouls — and the chances for free throws — made the difference, as NMMI shot a paltry .375 from the line (13-for-37) while the ’Cats went .529. It was the only shooting statistic in which Hagerman led, as the Colts outscored their opponent from 2-point range and from the outside — although Hagerman hit several timely 3s that led to their victory.
The early part of the game was back and forth. NMMI trailed by three at 7:05 and after taking a brief lead, by two with 1:13 remaining, but they tied it up for an 11-11 tie after one. The second half was more of the same, with the teams flying up and down the floor. There were four ties with NMMI finally going up 27-24 at the half.
The third quarter and much of the fourth was all Colts, as they stretched their lead to six in the third — leading 37-34 heading into the fourth — and by as much as 11 three times in the fourth. The last 11-point edge came at 4:05 on a bucket by Maldonado. But then Hagerman began a run.
The Bobcats cut the lead to three on back-to-back field goals by Jakob Bejarano and 4-for-4 shooting from the line by Osbaldo Najera and Bejarano. After Luy went 1-for-2 to stretch the Colt lead to 53-49, Najera got three the old-fashioned way, getting a layup and a foul and hitting the free throw.
After NMMI again stretched the lead to three, Isaac Morales tied the game at 55-55 on a big trey, NMMI went up 57-55 on two by Andres Aranda and after Arabalos went 2-for-2 from the line to tie it at 57-all with 17 seconds remaining, the Colts missed two chances from the field: a missed trey by Luy and two-pointer by Aranda.
That sent the game into the first overtime.
There wasn’t a lot of scoring in the four-minute OT period, which started and ended with a field goal by Luy, sending the game into double OT.
Hector Reyna put the Colts up 65-63 to open the sixth stanza, then Chris Herrera tied it at 65-all and Riley Hestand put the Bobcats up 68-65 with a crowd-pleasing 3-pointer. (The stands were packed with Hagerman fans, cheering on their team all the way.)
Aranda cut the ‘Cat lead to one and Hector Reyna put the home team up by one with 1:32 left in the stanza, but that was the last lead the Colts would get.
The Bobcats tied it at 69-69 on a free throw; went up by two on a bucket by Hestand. NMMI again tied it at 72-all on a score by Aranda, but Chris Herrera put in the final basket of the game with 18 seconds remaining.
The clock wore down with time outs by both teams; missed shots at the line by both; and a final Colt turnover that ended NMMI’s chances.
Colt coach Christian Stevens went from upset to exhilarated to down as the game progressed, and had little to say other than what the fans in the stands already knew.
“We had some of our better players foul out,” he said. “We’ve just got to make free throws. Because we missed free throws, that cost us the game.”
Before he fouled out, Juan Reyna picked up 21 points for NMMI. Aranda had a double-double with 16 points and an equal number of rebounds, and Luy added 12 points. Bejarano led all scorers with 31 points while Najera had 15 for Hagerman. All but one of the 11 Bobcats added to the scoring total.
The loss puts NMMI at 1-5 on the season heading into the long holiday break. They’ll be back Jan. 10 to face Dexter before heading to the Dexter tourney Jan. 12-14. The 3-1 Bobcats have three more games left before the break: against Eunice, Dexter and Loving, Dec. 15, 16 and 17.
The NMMI junior varsity got a win over the Bobcats earlier in the day.
Playing in Godfrey Gymnasium, the young Colts won 47-41 over Hagerman. NMMI led from the start, going up 17-10 after one; 36-17 at the half and 53-25 before the visitors closed the gap in the fourth quarter.
Hector Reyna, who had a tough time at the line in the varsity game, led the JV scorers with 12 points, going 7-for-8 from the line.