Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Surging 10th-ranked Eagles may be peaking just in time for district

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Hobbs' Austin Montoya has scored 17 points
in each of his last two games.
  That's the Hobbs boys basketball team's scoring average in its last five games since losing to No. 1 Las Cruces High 88-67 on Jan. 14.
  The 10th-ranked Eagles are 4-1 over that stretch, winning their last four games since losing at top-ranked Class 4A and undefeated Roswell High 94-90 in a game the Eagles could've won as well.
  It appears the thumping Hobbs took from the top-ranked Bulldawgs got the attention of the Eagles. That loss told Hobbs it had to get better if it wanted to compete with the state's elite – in particular the Eagles' execution on their full-court press and half-court offense.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hobbs football schedule for 2012

  I went to the meet and greet Thursday for new Hobbs football coach Charles Gleghorn and defensive coordinator Mike Felicetti and picked up the Eagles' 2012 season schedule.
  Not a lot different from last season other than the location of the games flipped around. The biggest difference is Hobbs will play Oñate instead of Las Cruces and the Goddard and Cleveland games have been switched in the placement of the schedule.

Hobbs 2012 Football Schedule
Aug. 31 @ Gadsden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 vs. Artesia, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 @ Roswell High, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 vs. Oñate, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs. Goddard, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 @ Alamogordo, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 @ Lovington, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 vs. Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 vs. Carlsbad, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 2 OPEN
Nov. 9 @ Clovis, 7 p.m.*
*District games

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UPDATE: Eunice's Almager commits to New Mexico Junior College

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Eunice's Tyler Almager committed Tuesday to play baseball at NMJC.
  It's only been a few hours since I blogged that Eunice pitcher/SS Tyler Almager was still considering baseball offers from Midland College, Cochise College, Eastern Arizona and University of the Southwest while visiting New Mexico Junior College today.
  Well the visit must've gone well at NMJC because I just heard from NMJC coach Josh Simpson that Almager has committed to the T-Birds.
  We will be putting together a story for Thursday's edition of the Hobbs News-Sun as Almager and his family and friends will get together Wednesday to make the commitment official.
  Almager was the 2011 News-Sun Baseball Player of the Year and led Eunice to a state title in 2010 and a runner-up finish in 2011.

Eunice's Caraza commits to Fort Lewis, Almager pulling in offers

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Eunice's Junior Caraza (20) stiff arms a player during the Class 2A state title
game in Santa Rosa. Caraza committed to Fort Lewis College on Monday.
  Amid all the late-breaking news Monday night with Eunice deciding not to renew football coach Daniel Hutchins' contract after taking the Cardinals to the state championship game in his first season, I learned of some good news for a local athlete.
  Eunice safety/wide receiver Junior Caraza has committed to play football next season at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., according to Hutchins. The hard-hitting senior was the Lea County News-Sun Defensive Player of the Year this past season after leading the Cardinals with 102 tackles and 11 interceptions to go along with three fumble recoveries and seven pass breakups.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Hutchins no longer football coach at Eunice

  I just talked with Daniel Hutchins and he informed me he'll no longer be the head football coach at Eunice.
  Hutchins said Eunice informed him that it wanted to go in a new direction with its football program. 
  Hutchins led Eunice through an undefeated season until losing in the Class 2A state title game to Santa Rosa.
  The story was broke by NMPreps.com.
  I'll have more on this in Tuesday's edition of the Hobbs News-Sun.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hobbs' Ibarra drops 47 on Deming, NMJC teams make statement

Brad Cox/News-Sun
Hobbs' Aaron Ibarra takes a shot during the
Eagles' win Saturday at Tasker Arena.
  I had started writing a blog post after New Mexico Junior College's men's and women's teams made huge statements by defeating Midland College on Thursday night – probably the most electric night at Caster Activity Center in my six seasons of covering NMJC basketball.
  I was close to posting it and just had to cover Hobbs' Saturday game against Deming (a game I figured nothing too exciting would happen) then come back and read it through one last time before posting it.
  After Aaron Ibarra's performance against Deming, however, I've had to perform a few edits on that blog post.
  The Hobbs senior scored 47 points – including the final nine points to break an 87-87 tie – to help the 5A No. 9 Eagles overcome a sloppy start and flat play to defeat 4A No. 10 Deming 96-87.
  Ibarra's 47 points is the third most in Hobbs history behind Larry Robinson's 49-point performance during a 170-104 Hobbs win over Carlsbad in 1970 and Jeffery Taylor's 48 points during a 100-80 win over Rio Rancho in 2008.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

THIS JUST IN: Eagles add game this Saturday at home against Deming

  The Hobbs boys basketball team has added a game against Deming this Saturday at Tasker Arena.
  The varsity game is set to start at 2:30 p.m. while the the junior varsity game will begin at 1 p.m.
  This is a replacement for the Dec. 19 game at Amarillo High that was canceled due to inclement weather in the Amarillo area.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Turnover woes, slow rotation on press burn Eagles in loss

  Yes, Tuesday night's boys basketball matchup between Roswell High and Hobbs in Roswell had the feel of Hobbs games of past with 184 combined points scored during the Class 4A  top-ranked and undefeated Coyotes' 94-90 victory over the 5A No. 9 Eagles in a four-quarters-of-fury affair.
  However, while the style of play was there, Hobbs' execution wasn't. The Eagles committed 30 turnovers (leading to several points for Roswell) and rotated poorly on the press and didn't protect the basket (leading to several Roswell layups).
  Hobbs has to start taking care of the ball. Lets just put it this way, if Hobbs commits even 10 less turnovers and scores on half of those possessions (Hobbs shot over 50 percent in the game), the Eagles win this game.
  It starts at the guard position as the Eagles are having way too many turnovers come from a position that should cherish each possession. I understand Hobbs wants to play uptempo, but it also has to play under control or games like Tuesday will happen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

No. 5 Lady Eagles may be gearing for another run, crush No. 9 Cruces

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Mackenzie Latimer attempts a shot during
the No. 5 Lady Eagles' win over No. 9 Las Cruces
on Saturday at Las Cruces High School.
  With limited home games to watch the fifth-ranked Hobbs girls basketball team play, I'll admit I wasn't sure what to think of the Lady Eagles as they got off to a 9-7 start heading into a three-game-in-five-day stretch on Friday against Goddard.
  After all, Hobbs was a state semifinalist a year ago with a lot of the talent returning from that run yet was only two games over .500 – though it had ventured through an incredibly difficult schedule.
  While I still wasn't sure after Hobbs pounded a struggling Goddard squad on Friday, the Lady Eagles showed a lot by hitting the road and dominating ninth-ranked Las Cruces High 60-37 on the Lady Bulldawgs' court.
  Hobbs (now 11-7), led 47-13 after three quarters before letting off the gas some in the fourth. The Lady Eagles dominated ever facet of the game, particularly on the defensive end and on the boards. Hobbs' myriad of defensive sets led to Las Cruces being disorganized and unable to get into anything offensively.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eagles need to keep confidence, get vocal when times get tough

  The eighth-ranked Hobbs boys basketball team was right there with top-ranked Las Cruces High.
  Leading late in the first quarter and down just 21-18 at the end of the first, the Eagles appeared prime to give the Bulldawgs all they could handle.
  But Hobbs' game went cold and confidence disappeared as Las Cruces dominated the Eagles for the next two quarters and went on to win 88-67 Saturday at Las Cruces High.
  As the taller and stronger Bulldawgs pulled away in the second quarter, it was clear by the look and lack of emotion by Hobbs players that the Eagles weren't going to keep up with Las Cruces.
  This group of Eagles plays hard. There is no doubt about that. It's what has them at 10-6 this season despite being undersized and inexperienced.
  But the Eagles could use a little more swagger, bravado, confidence or whatever you want to call it. While the effort is rarely lacking, sometimes the confidence is.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

TRAP GAME! Eagles can't afford to overlook Alamogordo Friday night

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs' Aaron Ibarra (40) grabs a rebound
alongside teammate Dane Pannell during
the Hobbs Holiday Tournament.
  The eighth-ranked Hobbs boys basketball team has a chance to make a gigantic statement on Saturday when the Eagles travel to play top-ranked Las Cruces High.
  Combine that opportunity for Hobbs with Eagle coach Mike Smith returning to Las Cruces High for the first time since he stepped down as coach in 2009 after 13 years and it's going to be an incredible atmosphere in a game dripping wet with storylines.
  But before Saturday comes Hobbs must avoid the dreaded TRAP GAME.
  The Eagles host an Alamogordo squad Friday night that is 6-9 on the season and fresh off blowing a 15-point lead in the first half at home during a loss to Carlsbad on Tuesday (which is below .500 at 5-8).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Seminole gaining momentum just in time for District 4-3A play

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Seminole's Jarod Adams, right, steals the ball during the Indians' win over
Kermit on Tuesday. Adams finished with 13 points, 10 steals and eight assists.
  I know Hobbs fans were probably perplexed when Seminole defeated their Eagles (ranked eighth in Class 5A New Mexico) 70-69 Jan. 5 in Seminole.
  Sure, Hobbs didn't play well (and despite it, led most of the game) and had two of its double-digit scorers (including Aaron Ibarra's 23.8 points per game) foul out with over five minutes left in the game.
  But there is another reason why Hobbs lost that game.
  Seminole is good. Really good.
  The Indians – back-to-back district champions – were ranked in the top 15 in Texas Class 3A to enter the season before injuries and other factors led to a 9-7 start.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

No. 8 Eagles break mini skid, close out Rio Rancho Saturday at Tasker

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs' Dane Pannell scored 16 points
during a win over Rio Rancho.
  After squandering away two solid second-half leads in its last two games (leading to losses to Lawton, Okla., 89-83, and Seminole, 70-69), the No. 8 Hobbs boys basketball team closed out an opponent Friday by beating Rio Rancho 73-60 at Tasker Arena.
  As I said in my last blog, there are too many good players on this team for the Eagles not to be closing out games. Hobbs was led by Aaron Ibarra's fourth 30-point-plus performance of the season as the senior scored 34. Dane Pannell followed up his 25-point, 22-rebound, six-assist effort in a loss to Seminole on Thursday with 16 points and six rebounds.
  The one difference Friday to those two losses was Hobbs didn't lead for the majority of the game. The Eagles trailed Rio Rancho for most of the second and third quarters (and to be honest, looked pretty rough for long stretches in the first half) before a 10-0 run put Hobbs up 47-42 heading into the fourth quarter.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Staying the course key for Eagles as they learn to close out games

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs' Earl Woods grabs a rebound during a loss
to Seminole on Thursday in Seminole.
  As I walked into the visiting locker room at Seminole High School to interview Hobbs coach Mike Smith on Thursday following Hobbs' second consecutive loss in which it controlled the contest for much of the first three quarters, nothing could be heard except for the sound of bags zipping up and players' feet shuffling out the door.
  No talking, just packing up and getting out of town.
  You couldn't blame them as Hobbs controlled much of the game against Seminole and several times it appeared the Eagles were going to blow the game wide open. But, and give credit to the Indians, Seminole stuck around and outscored Hobbs 20-10 in the final nine minutes of the game (including the final five without Hobbs having leading scorer Aaron Ibarra and sharpshooter Andrew Barrientes – who both fouled out) to beat the Eagles 70-69 at Seminole High School.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gleghorn hits the ground running as Hobbs football coach

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs football coach Charles Gleghorn speaks to students Wednesday.
  On the first morning of his first day on the job, Hobbs head football coach Charles Gleghorn was in front of every boy in the sophomore and junior class at Hobbs High School on Wednesday in Tasker Arena introducing himself, his philosophy and his desire to turn a Hobbs football program that has one playoff victory since 1982 into a winner.
  As I wrote in my story for Thursday's paper, he quickly informed the 400-plus students in front of him that no team in New Mexico will throw the football more than the Eagles in 2012 – leading to a loud ovation.
  Safe to say the student body is eager to move away from its three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mentality.
  Gleghorn's no-huddle, pass-happy spread offense has this town buzzing – in the middle of basketball season nonetheless. Add to it the addition of Aztec defensive coordinator Mike Felicetti (who helped Aztec to a state title in 2011 and coached with Gleghorn at Hatch Valley and Kirtland Central) as Hobbs' defensive coordinator and the Hobbs football program has its base set and is ready to build.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Tournament title slips away from Hobbs, still silver lining

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Hobbs' Greg Brooks looks for a teammate
during Hobbs' loss to Lawton on Friday.
  I'm sure the Hobbs players, coaches and nearly 3,000 Eagle fans that provided an electric atmosphere at Tasker Arena on Friday night could almost taste Hobbs winning its own tournament for the first time in 2008.
  However, Hobbs let a second-half lead slip by missing makeable shots, getting passive and turning it over too much as Lawton, Okla., bounced back and won the 54th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament 89-83 to become the first Oklahoma school to win this event.
  Don't get me wrong, Lawton did plenty to win this game. The trio of Delvonte Pierre, Dalvin Henderson and Tevin Foster were tough to slow down as the trio scored 77 of Lawton's 89 points.
  But this was a game the Eagles could've had.
  All the momentum was going the Eagles' way for much of the first two-plus quarters as Hobbs built a 50-40 lead midway through the third.
  But all the things the Eagles were doing well to build the lead – making good decisions, aggressiveness with their shot selections, pressuring defense – slowly faded away. Hobbs played not to lose instead of going for the win.