Wednesday, March 7, 2012

N.M. State Basketball Tournament, Day 2: Hobbs edged by La Cueva

The Hobbs basketball team waits for its game against La Cueva to begin.
  ALBUQUERQUE — The Hobbs boys basketball team came so close.
  The sixth-seeded Eagles led for the first 28 minutes, 1 second of the contest and looked good – particularly in the first half. Hobbs was pushing the tempo and La Cueva looked gassed in the second quarter as Hobbs led 36-32 at the half and led by as much as 10 points.
  The Eagles maintained that lead until the 3:59 mark in the fourth quarter when La Cueva took a 68-66 advantage after a pair of Bryce Alford free throws – a lead La Cueva wouldn't relinquish.
  Hobbs had its chances down the stretch but mental and physical miscues cost the Eagles while Alford heated up in the final quarter.
  The junior scored 18 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter as Hobbs had no answer for him. He was scoring off the dribble, in the post and spotting up from beyond the arc. Alford, the son of University of New Mexico men's basketball coach Steve Alford, was unstoppable in the fourth.
  Though the Eagles' season came to a close, it's still been a successful campaign. I'm going to write a column sometime in the next week about Hobbs' year but the Eagles improved from 12-17 last season to 20-9 in coach Mike Smith's first season this year. While Hobbs loses five seniors, including four starters, the Eagles return a lot of talent and will get an infusion of players from a JV squad that finished undefeated this season (second time in Hobbs history the JV team went undefeated) and crossed the 100-point plateau numerous times.