Sunday, December 28, 2014

57th Annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament Team Preview Capsules

Centennial Hawks
Las Cruces, N.M.
Year at Holiday Tournament: 2nd (2013)
Record: 6-2
Coach: Steve Heredia
Key Players: Omar Baez (6-3, F, Sr.), Cesar Molina (5-11, PG, Jr.), James Mulheron (6-5, F, Sr.), Vince Carrillo (6-3, F, Sr.)
Overview: Centennial returns to the Holiday Tournament with many of its key pieces back from a team that took fourth last season in Hobbs – losing close games to eventual tourney champ Lawton, Okla., (54-50) in the semifinals and Cleveland (60-56) in the third-place game. The Hawks have a pair of quality backcourt players in Cesar Molina and Omar Baez and frontcourt players in James Mulheron and Vince Carrillo. Centennial played Hobbs close in Las Cruces early in the season, losing to the Eagles 66-60. The Hawks are ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 1 in Class 5A according to

Cibola Cougars
Albuquerque, N.M.
Year at Holiday Tournament: 2nd (2009)
Record: 3-2
Coach: Ray Rodriguez
Key Players: Christian Cunningham (6-6, F, Sr.), Malik Liddell (6-1, G-F, Sr.)
Overview: While Cibola sits at 3-2 on the season, the Cougars could very well be 5-0 if not for losing their season opener at Albuquerque Eldorado 66-61 and falling in a nail biter to La Cueva on the road, 50-49. Cibola is always dangerous with Rodriguez at the helm and he has a difference maker down low in 6-foot-6 senior Christian Cunningham and on the perimeter in 6-foot-2 Malik Liddell. The Cougars last played at the Holiday Tournament in 2009, going 1-2 and taking fifth. Cibola is ranked No. 7 in Class 6A and No. 14 overall.

 Cleveland Storm
Rio Rancho, N.M.
Year at Holiday Tournament: 2nd (2013)
Record: 8-0
Coach: Brian Smith
Key Players: Ryan Jones (6-2, G, Sr.); Marcus Williams (6-3, F, Jr.)
Overview: Cleveland, along with Hobbs, are considered two of the top teams in the state and are ranked so with the Eagles at No. 1 and the Storm at No. 2. The Storm have that designation thanks to the 1-2 punch of talented guard Ryan Jones and athletic forward Marcus Williams. Jones, who has committed to play at University of Massachusetts-Lowell, is one of the top scorers and shooters in the state. While the Storm’s schedule hasn’t been tough (of the eight wins to start the season, only Las Cruces (6-4) and Farmington (8-2) are over .500), they’ve taken care of business with all but one of their wins by 13 points or more – six by 20 points or more.

El Paso Tigers
El Paso, Texas
Year at Holiday Tournament: 4th (1987, 1990, 1997)
Record: (5-4 – according to
Coach: Juan Hernandez
Key Players: Andre Castro (6-0, G, Sr.), Adam Topp (5-9, G, Sr.)
Overview: El Paso High returns to the Hobbs Holiday Tournament for the first time since 1997. The Tigers return nearly everyone from a team that went 16-14 last season, including captains Andre Castro and Adam Topp, as they had just two seniors on that roster. According to, the Tigers have lost their last two contests – a 70-45 loss to El Paso Andress and a 43-31 loss to El Paso Burges.

Hirschi Huskies
Wichita Falls, Texas
Year at Holiday Tournament: 1st
Record: 2-10
Coach: Donald Hedge
Key Players: Michael Norris (5-9, Jr.), Ezekiel Holmes (6-3, Fr.), Sayon Rhodes (6-2, Sr.)
Overview: Hirschi High School out of Wichita Falls, Texas, makes its first trip to the Hobbs Holiday Tournament this season. The Huskies have lost five in a row heading into the tournament with a 52-50 loss to Wichita Falls in the Wichita Falls Classic on Dec. 20. Hirschi has some size as its roster boasts seven players 6-foot-2 or taller, including 6-foot-7 senior Dshan Harley.

Hobbs Eagles
Hobbs, N.M.
Year at Holiday Tournament: 57th
Record: 9-0
Coach: Mike Smith
Key Players: Kelvin Jones (6-11, P, Sr., 17.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 4.4 bpg), Trey Nelson (5-9, PG, Sr., 16 ppg), Josh Ruiz (6-1, P, Sr. 12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Pierre Swain (6-1, G/F, Jr., 11.8 ppg), Andre Foster (5-10, G, Sr., 8.8 ppg)
Overview: Hobbs for the second year in a row enters the Holiday Tournament undefeated. The Eagles are beating teams by an average of 26.1 points per game and are ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and the state. The Eagles have a difference maker in the middle in 6-foot-11 Kelvin Jones and at point guard in Trey Nelson. The duo has helped Hobbs average 85.2 points per game – tops in the state. However, Hobbs is looking to win its first Hobbs Holiday Tournament title since 2008 – the longest drought in the 57-year history of the tournament for the Eagles.

Moore Lions
Moore, Okla.
Year at Holiday Tournament: 1st
Record: 2-1
Coach: Stuart Payne
Key Players: Jaylon Wilson (G, Sr.), Cole Oliver (5-9, PG, Sr.), Diontre Cutliff (Sr., F)
Overview: Moore High School comes to Hobbs for the first time to participate in the Holiday Tournament. Its fellow Class 6A Oklahoma counterpart Lawton saw plenty of success at the tournament, including beating Hobbs in the finals last season. Not much is known about the Lions outside of being a senior-laden squad (they have nine seniors on the roster) as they are only three games into the season. They are 2-1 with wins over Yukon (Okla.) and Southmoore (Moore, Okla.) and a loss to Norman (Okla.).

Odessa Bronchos
Odessa, Texas
Year at Holiday Tournament: 19th (1962-65, 1967-76, 1980, 2011-13) 
Record: 5-9
Coach: Matt Jackson
Key Players: Phillip Estrella (5-9, SG, Jr., 9.4 ppg) Isaac Hernandez (5-7, PG, Fr., 5.1 ppg), Ozzy Terrazas (6-5, P, Fr., 7.1 ppg), Isaiah Mata (5-9, SG, Jr., 8.0 ppg)
Overview: Odessa High returns to the tournament for the fourth year in a row with a new coach in Matt Jackson. The Bronchos have battled some injury issues, but figure to return one of its top scorers Monday. Before losing to Abilene Cooper 51-46 on Tuesday, freshmen Isaac Hernandez (10 points) and Ozzy Terrazas (seven) led the Bronchos to a 38-35 win over San Angelo Lake View on Dec. 19. In a 53-34 win over Monahans in the game before, Hernandez and Terrazas both had 11 while junior Isaiah Mata had 17. Fellow junior Phillip Estrella leads the team in scoring at 9.4 points per contest.