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.
  This is where Hobbs could use a player or two to step up and become the vocal leader of this team. Someone to get the team going when times do get tough.
  Hobbs is a very cohesive team. In the 16 games I've covered I don't think I've ever seen in-fighting or anyone show another player up during a game.
  But there needs to be a player or two that motivates the team vocally. A coach can't and shouldn't have to do it all.
  This is an important stretch for Hobbs as it can't let a loss to the top-ranked team in the state lead to poor play. On this day in January, Las Cruces was clearly better. It doesn't mean the same will be the case when March comes around.
  The Eagles have another shot to make a statement on the road Tuesday as Hobbs travels to play Class 4A No. 1 and undefeated Roswell High. A win there goes a long way toward erasing the memory of Saturday's loss to Las Cruces and would help Hobbs as it gears up toward district play at the end of the month.