By Leroy Chavez<br />Sports Writer
The Cimarron High School Rams used a balanced offensive attack and a stout defense to down the New Mexico School of the Deaf 60-44 in the consolation bracket of the Trojan Invitational basketball tournament played in Wagon Mound Saturday (Jan. 7).
“We’re really starting to come around,” Ram coach Eric Kajca said. “Our first game, well it just wasn’t us as we weren’t ready to play, but as the tourney progressed we grew.”
Cimarron 60, NMSD 44
On Saturday at 12:30 p.m., in the 7-8 game of the Wagon Mound Tourney, a vastly improved Ram squad downed NMSD of Santa Fe by a score of 60-44. The Rams, coming off a solid game against Mosquero-Roy on Friday night, took a 17-13 lead after the initial period, then added a 13-5 advantage in the second period to take a 30-18 cushion to the locker room at halftime.
In the third stanza the Rams were outscored 15-11 by the Roadrunners, but still maintained a 41-33 lead at the three-fourths mark. The Rams exploded for 19 points while holding NMSD to 11 points in the final quarter to hold on to a 60-44 win.
Leading the Rams offensively were Alonzo Chavez with 19 points, while Frank Cortez and Chris Carillo each with 12 points, Michael Martinez with nine points and Matt Torres with eight points. “We finally played a full four quarters, we didn’t have our normal lapses during (the) game that have cost us in the past,” Kajca said. “Our focus has been to play hard-nosed defense and to work hard at boxing out and rebounding. Rebounding-wise, the kids got a body on their man and worked at positioning themselves to rebound. Now we just have to be consistent at it.”
Mosquero-Roy 46, Cimarron 28
The combined Mosquero- Roy ball team from Harding County used free-throw shots down the stretch to down the Rams 46-28 in the semi finals of the consolation bracket on Friday (Jan. 6). The Rams jumped out to an 8-4 lead after the initial eight minutes of play, only to see the Pirates take a 13-3 advantage in the second period and a 17-11 lead at intermission.
“Derrick Casias, our leading scorer, hurt his knee the night before and was not able to play, so it took us a while to adapt,” Kajca said.
In the third period, the Pirates outscored Cimarron 15-6 to increase the lead to 31-17 at the buzzer. In the final period, the Rams rallied to cut the margin to 10 points. The Mosquero-Roy squad took advantage of a hurried Ram offense and free throw shooting to outscore Cimarron 15-11 to ice the game at 46-28.
The Rams were lead offensively by eighth-grader Alonzo Chavez with 11 points and freshman point guard Frank Cortez with seven points.
“A little past the midway point in the final period we cut their lead under 10 points and had some momentum, but in order to try and get the win we hurried our offense and had to put them on the line,” Kajca said. “Aided with free throws, they made a final push in the last quarter to put the game away. We did, however, play good defense, and we were able to adjust playing without our leading scorer (Casias).”
Vaughn 72, Cimarron 35 In the opening round of the tourney on Thursday, (Jan. 5) the Rams had to answer the Eagles of Vaughn dropping a 72-35 verdict.
“It just wasn’t us. We weren’t ready to play, and the final score showed that,” Kajca said. “The only bright spot for Cimarron was a 20-point effort from Derrick Casias.”
The Rams will now prepare to battle area nemesis Maxwell in the annual Homecoming game to be played on Saturday (Jan. 14) at the CHS gymnasium. The Cimarron middle school boys will open the action at 3 p.m., while the junior varsity boys hit the hard court at 4 p.m. The Lady Rams will tip-off at 5:30 p.m., and the varsity boys start at approximately 7 p.m.