Hobbs' Dane Pannell drives toward the basket
during a scrimmage Saturday at Tasker Arena.
First there was Odessa Permian. The Panthers were long, athletic and ready to run (though it only scrimmaged with six players).
Then there was El Paso Montwood. The Rams weren't very impressive athletically but were extremely disciplined and played at a methodical pace.
The two extremes provided Hobbs a chance to see its own strengths and weaknesses as it heads into its season opener Tuesday at Midland Lee. Scores don't really matter in scrimmages. It's all about finding strengths, weaknesses, good rotations and so on.
Against Odessa Permian it was quickly made apparent the Eagles are going to be tough to run up and down the court with. Not only did Hobbs easily outscore Permian, the Eagles forced the Panthers into numerous turnovers and were a nightmare for them – despite Permian having better athletes and more height. Hobbs' quickness and execution on the full-court press just overwhelmed Permian.
But the matchup Hobbs got the most out of was facing Montwood. The Eagles struggled in the first session to get anything going against Montwood as the Rams' slow pace and ability to break the press without rushing bad shots and turning the ball back over to Hobbs limited the Eagles' opportunities.
The second time the two teams played, however, the Eagles learned from their mistakes the first time around and started half-court trapping Montwood and it broke the Rams' rhythm and made for better results.
Hobbs will need to improve against teams like Montwood because I imagine a lot of teams plan on attacking the Eagles like that (though I'm not sure how many have the discipline of Montwood).
Another issue will be finding more consistent scoring. Dane Pannell, Aaron Ibarra and Austin Montoya will likely be the most dependable scorers for the Eagles this season but when even two of them were off the court, Hobbs struggled to score – especially when the press wasn't creating easy buckets. Other players will need to fill the void because there will be nights those guys will get into foul trouble.
Rebounding will be a big question mark as well. Both Permian and Montwood sported at least one guy 6-foot-5 or taller and the Eagles had trouble keeping those guys off the glass. It's going to have to be a team effort because Hobbs is small. Everyone will have to chip in.
What was promising was the effort on the court and the quickness. While Hobbs will have a tough time matching up size wise with teams, opponents will also struggle to keep up with the Eagles' speed and tempo. In all the scrimmages Saturday the Eagles started Montoya, Ibarra, Pannell, Jesus Rodriguez and Andrew Barrientes – all speedy players.
Also, there are going to be some guys off the bench that will help as well. I really liked what transfer-guard Terrell Wright did during the scrimmage. He's a true point guard who will find the open man. Adrian Sanchez, Adrian Trevino, Jamiah Smith, Jordan Chavarria and others showed glimpses as well. The quicker the guys who don't have varsity experience mature, the better the Eagles will be.