Wednesday, December 26, 2012

55th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament - team preview capsules

  The 55th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament begins Thursday as eight teams come to Tasker Arena and battle for the gold basketball trophy. Of the eight teams at the tournament, five have won Hobbs Holiday Tournament titles before. Click here for the bracket and here is a little bit on each team attending the tournament. This will be on the second page of Thursday's sports section for those of you who want a copy.

Andress Eagles
El Paso, Texas
Coach: Jim Forbes
Record: 9-6
Key Players:  Jeff Long (5-10, Jr., 16 ppg), Dalvyn Collins (Sr.), De’jon Scott (Sr.), Joey Pacheco (Jr.), Eddie Sinegal (Jr.), Isaiah Hemmit (6-5, Jr.)
Outlook: After limping out to a 2-6 start, El Paso Andress has won its last seven games heading into the Hobbs Holiday Tournament. The Eagles won the Holiday Tournament in 2010 with a 79-72 win over Albuquerque Eldorado. Forbes said while the team has won seven games in a row, defense is still the its biggest concern.

Canutillo Eagles
Canutillo, Texas
Coach: Larry Morales
Record: 8-7
Key Players: Jonathan Rodriguez (Jr., 15.6 ppg, 7 rpg), Joshua Varela (Sr., 9.5 ppg), Angel Zuniga (Sr., 7.3 ppg, 6 rpg), C’Vaan Guillen (So., 6.8 ppg), Gerson Aguilar (So., 5.8 ppg, 3 apg, 2 spg), Marc Gonzalez (So., 6.1 ppg)
Outlook: Canutillo returns to Hobbs for the second straight year after finishing fourth at the Holiday Tournament in 2011. The Eagles have won three of its last four contests with the only loss coming to Texas Class 4A top-25 squad El Paso Hanks. Jonathan Rodriguez has been Canutillo’s main threat at 15.6 points per game while 2011 Hobbs Holiday All-Tournament team member Joshua Varela also returns.

Cooper Cougars
Abilene, Texas
Coach: Marc Case
Record:  7-10
Key Players: Dante’ Lowry (5-10, G, Sr., 15.6 ppg), Lorenzo Joe (6-2, F, Jr., 6.3 ppg), Juvon Banks (6-3, P, So., 8.2 ppg)
Outlook: Cooper returns to compete in its 12th Hobbs Holiday Tournament and second in a row after finishing seventh last season. Cooper has won two games in a row heading into the tournament, including a 65-55 win over Midland High in which Dante’ Lowry led the Cougars with 28 points. Lowry was an all-tournament performer at last season’s event.

Highland Hornets
Albuquerque, N.M.
Coach: Danny Brown
Record: 0-5
Key Players: Brian Medina (6-2, G/F, Jr.), Dru Anderson (5-10, PG, Jr.), Malik Baker (5-8, PG, Sr.)
Outlook: Highland has battled a brutally tough schedule and faced some of the best players in New Mexico to start the season with losses to Albuquerque metro-area schools such as defending Class 5A state champion Eldorado, defending 5A state runner-up La Cueva and Sandia. The Hornets have been in all of their games through the first half before struggling in the second half. Highland is led by bruising 6-foot-2, 200-plus pound guard Brian Medina. The Hornets do have a Holiday Tournament title under their belt when current University of New Mexico guard Chad Adams led Highland to the title in 2007.

Hobbs Eagles
Hobbs, N.M.
Coach: Mike Smith
Record: 7-2
Key Players: Dane Pannell (6-3, G/F, Sr., 24.4 ppg), Earl Woods (6-3, P, Sr., 16.0 ppg), Adrian Brown (6-0, F, Sr., 9.8 ppg) Adrian Sanchez (5-9, G, Sr., 9.4 ppg), Terrell Wright (5-8, PG, Sr.)
Outlook: The Eagles have started the season strong with its only losses coming to the top-ranked team in El Paso (Coronado – also ranked No. 21 in Texas Class 5A) and prep academy Houston Trent Internationale and its three Division-I prospect seniors. However, Hobbs hasn’t won its own tournament since 2008 – tied for the longest streak the Eagles have gone without winning the Hobbs Holiday Tournament in its 54-year history.

Lawton Wolverines
Lawton, Okla.
Coach: Eric Wiley
Record: 3-3
Key Players: Tevin Foster, Narissis Woods, Dallas Sealey
Outlook: Lawton is the defending Hobbs Holiday Tournament champion after beating Hobbs 89-83 in the title game last season. Lawton, which lost all-tourney performers Dalvin Henderson and Delvonte Pierre to graduation, has won three of its last four contests after starting the season 0-2. This is Lawton’s sixth-consecutive year at the Hobbs Holiday Tournament with second-place finishes in 2007 and 2008.

Millennium Tigers
Goodyear, Ariz.
Coach: Mike Lopez
Record: 10-1
Key Players: Jordan Martin (6-0, Sr., 18 ppg, 11 rpg, 5 apg) Hunter Jones (6-0, Sr., 8 ppg, 12 apg), Elston Jones (6-10, Jr., 12 ppg, 14 rpg, 8 bpg)
Outlook: The Tigers enter the tournament ranked fifth in Division I in Arizona and are likely the favorite to come out of the top half of the bracket. Millennium has a pair of guards in Jordan Martin and Hunter Jones that compliment 6-foot-10 junior post Elston Jones – a player getting interest by schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, Marquette and New Mexico according to A side note, Jones’ mother is Hobbs graduate Sharon Haynes (now Sharon Jones) who went on to play basketball at New Mexico State.

Odessa Bronchos
Odessa, Texas
Coach: James Johnson
Record: 9-8
Key Players: Aaron McMaryion (Sr., 17 ppg, 5 apg, 4 spg), Isaiah Deary (16 ppg); Jamerson Johnson (10 ppg); Emilio Carrasco (7 ppg, 8 rpg), Jorri Brannon
Outlook: Odessa High makes its 17th appearance at the Hobbs Holiday Tournament and its second in row after finishing sixth last season. The Bronchos are 9-8 on the season with one of those losses coming in overtime to Hobbs. Odessa had a two-game win streak snapped  by Amarillo Tascosa on Friday with Aaron McMaryion leading the way for the Bronchos with 15 points. Odessa has won a Hobbs Holiday Tournament, beating Hobbs 88-84 in 1968.