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).
  Back to the game. Hobbs struggled with FCA's height, bulk and agility as the Lions sliced through the Eagles' press. Featuring a 6-foot-10 center in Ray Berrano commanding the paint to go along with a front line that also featured two more players at least 6-foot-5, a 6-foot-4 guard and an ultra-quick point guard (who was the only player on the roster under 6-foot), FCA was just too much. The Lions weren't just tall, they were strong and very skilled. It was a combination that overwhelmed an undersized Hobbs squad.
  While Hobbs coach Mike Smith questioned the legitimacy of FCA's roster (particularly the age of the Lions' players), he told me after the game that his squad will grow from this and I agree. The Eagles won't face a team like this the rest of the season. This is probably the best team Hobbs has played in at least the last three years (last year's Lubbock Estacado squad is a close second).
  FCA pointed out some of Hobbs' weaknesses, particularly on the press. Hobbs' rotations were a bit slow as FCA easily broke the press and benefited with several layups.
  The margin of defeat should've been closer as the Eagles missed numerous point-blank shots, but a lot of that had to do with FCA's tall presence around the rim.
  Now the Eagles play a Horizon team 4 p.m. today (Friday) that struggled in a loss to Riverside (the fifth-ranked team in the city rankings) and I'd bet it is going to feel the brunt of Hobbs' frustrations from Thursday.