NMMI Sports Press
The Colt basketball team finally put together a full four quarters on the court Tuesday and it showed. Playing against the shorthanded Tigers, NMMI never let off the gas, winning 77-27 for its first victory of the season.
“We played exactly how I wanted,” said coach Christian Stevens. “We usually only do it for a half. This time we did it for a whole game and that’s the difference on the scoreboard. When we do it for four quarters, we can win games.”
The Colts still had to warm up a bit before pulling away. Capitan put the first two points on the board, and it was tied at 3-3 and 7-7 before NMMI big man Dillon Reynolds made it 9-8 with 1:23 left in the first quarter.
The Colts led 14-8 after one , then held the Tigers to only two field goals — both three pointers — and two free throws in the second, stretching the lead to 35-16 heading into the locker room.
The NMMI defense — which ran all over the floor, forcing turnovers, getting blocks and making steals — held undermanned Capitan to only six points in the third, and only three — all from the charity stripe in the fourth.
And even before the clock started running, Stevens gave his starters a chance to rest, trading five in and five out throughout the fourth.
The only real negative the Colts showed was at the line. Their field goal percentage wasn’t outstanding — either from the line or outside — but their free throw shooting was horrendous.
“We’ve just got to make free throws,” the coach said. “The score was 77. It could have been 100 if we had made every free throw.”
Maybe even more.
Capitan had 20 fouls in the first half alone — NMMI was in the bonus at 1:47 in the first and the double bonus at 7:27 in the second — and only made 10 baskets from the charity stripe in the half. Overall, the Colts were 16-for-49 from the line.
Stevens isn’t sure what happens to his team when they get on the court.
“We work on them every day,” he said. “We intentionally distract them in the most brutal ways possible. And they make them in practice, then we get to the game situation and we choke. I guess they just need the pressure.”
Fausto Baranzini, who led the scoring with 19 points, was one of only two Colts to go 2-for-2 from the line in the game. Andres Aranda was the other one going 2-for-2 as part of his 15 points. Dillion Reynolds also tallied double figures for NMMI with 17 points while Emilio Maldonado picked up 10.
The 1-4 Colts will be back in action Thursday against valley rival Hagerman, and Stevens knows it’ll be a tougher game.
“I think every team we’ve faced so far, we just haven’t showed up and played a complete game. Now that we’ve got a win under our belts we’ve got a little more confidence, I think we’re going to come out, be aggressive, and hopefully enjoy going into the break with two wins.”
The junior varsity also started the day off with a 73-18 running-clock victory.
NMMI jumped out to a 21-9 lead in the first half and never looked back, making it 40-14 at the half and 61-14 after three.
Three Colts scored in double figures. Nigel Grubbs led all scorers with 17 points, while Hector Reyna and Billy Balogun tallied 10 apiece.