Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Tournament: Eagles snag big win, face Lawton in final

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs' Austin Montoya battles Volcano Vista's
Sam Haywood for a rebound during Hobbs' win
Thursday at Tasker Arena.
  Heading into Thursday night's Hobbs Holiday Tournament semifinal game against No. 8 Volcano Vista, the 10th-ranked Hobbs boys basketball team hadn't gotten a quality win on its resume despite an 8-3 mark (maybe the Oñate victory) as the Eagles hadn't defeated a team with a record above .500.
  After Thursday's game, the same can't be said.
  Hobbs used its pressure full-court defense to force Volcano Vista into 25 turnovers as the Eagles pulled away for a 75-52 win over the Hawks (who entered the game 5-4).
  I'll be honest, I didn't expect this. I thought it'd be a close battle. But for Hobbs to lead the majority of the game and win by 23 points is a feather in the cap of the Eagles.
  Point guard Austin Montoya, a very underrated player for Hobbs, scored a team-high 21 points and came up big as Volcano Vista swarmed both Aaron Ibarra (though he still had 15 points) and Dane Pannell (he had 14) for much of the night.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Important stretch for Eagles begins

Hobbs' Andrew Barrientes defends against El Paso Bowie earlier this season.
  I know the Hobbs boys basketball team’s schedule said the season began in mid-November, but the Eagles’ season really gets underway at the Hobbs Holiday Tournament when they take on Dumas 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Tasker Arena.
  Every year the Holiday Tournament is the kick start to a final nine-week stretch that will determine the fate of the Eagles’ season and it won’t be any different this year.
  While Hobbs is off to a 7-3 start and the first 10 games has helped the Eagles find themselves under first-year coach Mike Smith, they still have plenty to prove.
  With only one game under its belt against a New Mexico opponent (beating Oñate at home on Dec. 17), Hobbs’ playoff resume is still slim as it hasn’t defeated a team with a record over .500 on the season.
  But Hobbs has a chance to bolster it with 10 of its next 15 games against New Mexico opponents (and possibly 11 if the Eagles face Volcano Vista during the Holiday Tournament this week).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Taylor, Tate, Thompson going strong at the college level

Photo courtesy of Seattle University Athletics
Hobbs graduate and Seattle University junior Allen Tate goes up for a shot.
  I really mean to do this more and I think I'll make it a regular thing with my blog, but I like to try and keep up with how former Eagle basketball players (and any Lea County athletes in general, for that matter) are doing at the college ranks.
  There are three players off of the Eagles' 2008 state championship team still going strong at the college level – Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt), Allen Tate (Seattle University) and Juhreece Thompson (Trinidad State Junior College).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Off to 7-3 start, Eagles still with room to grow in 2011-12 season

Darrell Patterson/News-Sun
Hobbs' Dane Pannell grabs one of his team-high 18 rebounds to go along 
with 22 points during a 74-67 win over Oñate Saturday at Tasker Arena. 
  With Monday's game against Amarillo High in Amarillo canceled due to inclement weather, the Hobbs boys basketball team is now on its short winter break before hitting the court again Dec. 28 for the Hobbs Holiday Tournament (here is the bracket).
  So 10 games into the season, the Eagles sit at 7-3 and ranked 10th in the latest New Mexico High School Coaches Association poll (link to poll).
  The Eagles are coming off their best win of the season with a 74-67 win over defending 5A champ, but unranked, Oñate on Saturday (Hobbs still hasn't beaten a team over .500 on the season).
  But Hobbs appears to be far from hitting its ceiling this season when it comes to quality of play.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Monday's Hobbs game in Amarillo canceled due to blizzard warning

  I just received word the Hobbs boys basketball team's game against Amarillo High on Monday in Amarillo has been canceled to due to a blizzard warning for the Amarillo area.
  Here is a link to a story on the blizzard warning.
  I don't see Hobbs (7-3 after Saturday's 74-67 win over Oñate) making up this game in the next week so the Eagles' next contest will likely be the first round of the Hobbs Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28 at 7:45 p.m. against Dumas, Texas. Here is a link to the Hobbs Holiday Tournament bracket.

Gleghorn a great fit for Hobbs

  With the holiday season here, what do you get that special high school football program in your life that already has top-notch facilities and equipment, a huge student body to choose from and a community eager for a winner after nearly 30 years of state playoff ineptitude?
  How about a spread-offense, quick-tempo loving, state-title winning coach who has ties to the area, has won everywhere he’s been and gets players out for football in droves with his player-friendly system?
  That’s what the Hobbs administration gave its football program Thursday when it hired Charles Gleghorn.
  The former Mesilla Valley Christian coach who is coming off a Class 1A state title this season in just the program’s third year of existence to go along with three Class 2A state titles with Hatch Valley (2003-05) fits perfectly for what Hobbs needed in my eyes to turn the program around.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Gleghorn new Hobbs football coach

Submitted Photo
Charles Gleghorn, left, accepts a medal after Mesilla Valley Christian won
the Class 1A state championship this season.
  Hobbs announced Thursday that former Mesilla Valley Christian head coach Charles Gleghorn is the new Hobbs head football coach.
  Gleghorn, a Lovington graduate, is 90-34 and has four state titles in 11 seasons as a head coach, including leading Mesilla Valley to the Class 1A state championship this season in just the program's third year.
  Gleghorn, 41, now has the job of turning around a Hobbs program that has lost 14 of its last 17 games, has one playoff victory since 1982, hasn't won an outright district title since 1974 and hasn't won a state title since 1972.
  Gleghorn will start at Hobbs at the beginning of the new semester in January and said he'll begin to implement his pass-heavy spread offense that has set several state passing records right away.
  Read my story on Gleghorn being hired by Hobbs to find out his thoughts on taking over the position, how he'll implement his system and his expectations for next season in Friday's edition of the News-Sun at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eagles struggle to score in loss to Permian, help is on the way

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Andrew Barrientes looks to pass Tuesday 
during the Eagles' loss at Odessa Permian.
  One thing was clear during Hobbs' 65-42 loss to Odessa Permian on Friday in Odessa – the Eagles need to get some help back if they want to be successful against good teams.
  Hobbs struggled to get anything going against a Permian team, while talented, that probably isn't 23 points better than the Eagles. Aaron Ibarra was the only Eagle to score more than five points as he led the team with 22 points and eight rebounds. Nobody else was really looking for their shot or being aggressive, leading to the Eagles' lowest scoring output since Jan. 10, 2006, when Hobbs lost to Gadsden 43-41.
  But help is on the way for the Eagles.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ibarra explodes, Eagles show resiliency to split El Paso road trip

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Aaron Ibarra scores two of his 39 points during Hobbs' 
78-67 win Saturday at El Paso Chapin High School.
  The Hobbs boys basketball team showed plenty of resiliency during a 78-67 win Saturday at El Paso Chapin – a day after getting thumped by El Paso Bowie by 21 points in a game that wasn't close from midway through the second quarter on.
  Again playing without junior Dane Pannell (out due to injury - not sure when he'll return), the Eagles were facing a Chapin team that had more size and athleticism – somewhat similar to the Bowie team it faced the night before.
  But instead of being passive and settling for jump shots, the smaller Eagles attacked the basket – particularly senior Aaron Ibarra. The increased aggressiveness led to more trips to the free-throw line and more points in the paint.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Hobbs football coaching candidates released

  I've received the list of the Hobbs football head coaching candidates. These applicants will interview either Monday or Tuesday.
  I'll have a story in Sunday's edition of the Hobbs News-Sun with more detail.
  In alphabetical order, they are:
  – Speedy Faith, defensive coordinator at Roswell High (former Lovington head coach)
  – Charles Gleghorn, head coach at Mesilla Valley Christian (Lovington grad)
  – Heath Ridenour, offensive coordinator at Cleveland High School (Lovington grad)
  – Ken Stevens, offensive coordinator at Carlsbad High School
  – Victor Tarin, offensive coordinator at Lovington High School

Thursday, December 8, 2011

54th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament bracket released

  One of the best sporting events that occurs in Lea County is set as Hobbs released the bracket for the 54th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament today.
  Here is the link for the Hobbs Holiday Tournament bracket, which takes place Dec. 28-30.
  The Eagles open up with Dumas, Texas, and will then either play Odessa High or Volcano Vista. Remember, the Eagles play at 7:45 p.m. each night of the tournament.
  As for this weekend's game, Hobbs should get plenty out of a two-game road trip to El Paso. Bowie (7 p.m. Friday) and Chapin (noon Saturday) are both hovering around .500 for the season but have played tough teams close. Hobbs junior Dane Pannell is expected to give it a go after missing Tuesday's 79-45 victory over Midland Lee with a swollen knee. Hobbs coach Mike Smith said they will be monitoring it closely and if Pannell shows any discomfort with it, Pannell will sit out the games this weekend.
  Read my preview of the Eagles' games in El Paso in Friday's edition of the News-Sun at

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eagles' El Paso road trip tweaked

  The Hobbs boys basketball team's road trip to El Paso for Friday and Saturday has been tweaked some.
  Instead of playing El Paso Chapin this Friday at 7 p.m., the Eagles will play at El Paso Bowie (same game time).
  Another change is Hobbs' Saturday contest against El Paso Chapin has been moved back from 5 p.m. to noon.
  As far as I know, Hobbs' contest against Midland Lee 7 p.m. Tuesday at Tasker Arena is still on. I will post an update if I hear it or the Hobbs girls game against Lubbock Coronado for 5:30 p.m. is canceled.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eagles get back to winning ways, Lady Eagles make statement

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Dane Pannell drives against Horizon.
  A weekend trip to El Paso saw the Hobbs boys basketball team lose its first game of the season to a very good Faith Christian team with a checkered past Thursday (read this blog post for info on that), but the Eagles bounced back and beat El Paso Horizon 92-43 Friday (could've put well over 100 on them) and Clint 72-56 Saturday in a game that was closer than expected (though the Eagles played without starting point guard Austin Montoya who was taking his SAT or ACT, I don't remember which one).
  These road trips are always good when you can pick up wins, bond as a team and learn to win on the road away from Tasker Arena (as I've been told by Hobbs alumni, championships are won on the road in New Mexico). The Eagles (4-1 overall) accomplished that. Was it always pretty? No. But if Hobbs is still winning games (and significantly – the Eagles are winning by an average of 24.8 points per game) and there are still things to improve, that's a positive sign.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

'Cats, coaching staff prove plenty with third straight state title

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Lovington heads onto the field prior to its Class 3A state championship 
game against St. Michael's Saturday in Santa Fe.
  I'll be honest. I wasn't sure how Lovington was going to do this season. Losing 20 seniors, including all-everything quarterback Jacob Jameson, I thought it may be too much for the Wildcats to overcome.
  Even when playoff time came around and I did my predictions, I thought they'd make it to the finals but fall to top-seeded St. Michael's.
  I should've known better.
  Lovington rallied from a 10-0 deficit and went on to beat St. Michael's 14-10 Saturday up in the frigid weather of Santa Fe to claim its third-consecutive state championship.
  What impressed me about this state title is the Wildcats did it the complete opposite way they have the last two seasons.

Friday, December 2, 2011

First loss for Eagles should motivate

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Austin Montoya takes a shot during Eagles'
loss to Faith Christian on Thursday in El Paso.
  EL PASO — It was ugly from the get go as a very talented Faith Christian Academy squad out of El Paso jumped out to a 20-4 lead after the first quarter over Hobbs and cruised to an 87-51 victory Thursday at the Canutillo Tournament in El Paso.
  Before I get to the game, this Faith Christian squad (ranked fourth in the El Paso Times rankings, though I doubt there are three teams better than them) Hobbs lost to has an interesting story behind it. Last year El Paso El Dorado had to forfeit games from the 2009-10 season when it was determined four players were recruited from Mexico to play for the team and those players were kicked off the team and suspended for three years by the University Interscholastic League (read link here to story).
  Faith Christian (who plays in the small Texas Christian Athletic League - only 54 members with most being very small schools) just happens to have four players who used to play for El Dorado on their roster (I won't say which ones because really it's not my place to put them out there, but it wasn't hard for me to figure it out with a little internet research).