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.
  The return of Dane Pannell from injury Saturday was huge for the Eagles (Hobbs was 2-2 without him on the court) as he finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Pannell and Ibarra (who is having a breakout season, averaging well over 20 points per game) make a dynamic one-two punch for Hobbs to go along with point guard Austin Montoya and Andrew Barrientes as players who can reach double digits in scoring each contest.
  However, Hobbs' weaknesses thus far has been its depth – particularly for a team that wants to press for 32 minutes.
  But the Eagles should get some help with that with junior Earl Woods (6-foot-3, long arms and athletic) becoming eligible soon. His size in the paint will take some of the rebounding pressure off of Ibarra and Pannell and will give Hobbs another player who can score.
  Combine that with soccer stand-out Shelby Jecius (6-foot-3, long and athletic as well) getting up to speed for Hobbs as well as some of the reserves starting to gain confidence (watch out for sophomore Adrian Trevino – he has a knack for scoring with a nice mid-range jumper) and I see Hobbs continuing to improve from the Hobbs Holiday Tournament on.
  At what level the Eagles will peak at, however, is still a mystery.