By N. Waddell
In the last several games, the Lobo basketball team had been victimized by a hot-shooting player that lit up the scoreboard. The Lobo coaches decided to install a fast-paced defense, not allowing any one player to take control.
In the last three games, that defense came up big.
The defense started to develop in the Miami Vandal game last Tuesday when the stifling defense led to numerous turnovers for easy Lobo scores. The Lobos did not allow any Vandal player to take control with the Vandal high scorer only hitting for 11 points while just about every Lobo player on the court that night was on the score sheet.
The Lobos had a 29-24 lead after one half of play on their way to a 67-58 win over the Vandals. Julian Gomez was the leading scorer for the night hitting for 24 points with help from Michael Rabago with 12 points and Marcos Gonzales with 10 points.
Rodney Ortiz, a defensive thorn for the Vandals, had six points with Adrian Ochoa, another tough defensive player, getting five points. Roman Padilla, tough under the boards, and Matt Martinez each had four points in the win.
A scoreless second quarter led to a loss for the Lobo JV and they never recovered, dropping their game to the Vandal JV with a score of 62-29.
In the girls’ varsity game, the Lady Lobos were missing their top scorer and the rest of the team had a lot of trouble getting the basketball into the bucket. The Lady Lobos fell behind 23-9 at the end of the first half and were unable to stop the Lady Vandal attack, losing the game 54-21.
Ashley Cruz led Lady Lobo scoring with eight points with Angelica Cabrera adding four points. Kyana Garcia had three points for the Lobos with Makayla Ramos, Clarissa Chavez and Melinda Marinez each hitting for two points apiece.
The Lobos next game was an opportunity for the team to show that the best team on the court is not always the winner. With the handcuffs off and an officiating crew that allowed them to play their tough defense, their intensity on the court almost backfired on them when they could not convert on numerous easy shots at the bucket.
Their aggressive defense came up big, holding the Miner’s top scorer to only eleven points; this player had twenty-three points in their first meeting.
The game was close in the first half, with the Lobos holding an 18-16 lead at the end of the first half. The Lobos came out hot in the second half and their aggressive defense held the Miners to only ten second half points, winning the game 39-26.
Julian Gomez again led Lobo scoring with 11 points with Rodney Ortiz and Marcos Gonzales each getting eight points. Playing tough defense and blocking numerous shot attempts, the trio of Roman Padilla, Michael Rabago and Adrian Ochoa each scored four points.
The Lobo JV team played the best they have played against the Miner JV, but again, a scoreless second quarter led to a disappointing loss. The team lost on two free shots with seven tenths of a second left, ending with a score of 24-22.
The Lady Lobo game, with one starter out due to illness and several others fighting bad colds, were never in the game against the tall and running Lady Miner team. With the height of the Lady Miners allowing for only one shot at the bucket for the Lobos, they could just not get the basketball in the bucket. They suffered their worst loss of the season, losing to the Lady Miners with a lopsided score of 51-9.
Melinda Marinez was the Lobos leading scorer with only three points with Angelica Cabrera, Cheyanne Gaona and Ashley Cruz getting two points apiece.
The last game of the week had the Lobos’ boys’ varsity team traveling to Coolidge to take on the Imagine Prep Eagles, a team they easily defeated. The Friday before that had the Eagles coach complaining that the Lobos had run up the score on his team.
The coach still had some ill feelings for the Hayden team when they traveled to his court allowing his players to play, for lack of a better term, dirty tactics. The Lobos did not come out too aggressive, not wanting to run up the score leading 24-17 at the half time break. After witnessing the tactics of the Eagle players, the Lobo coaches turned the Lobo team loose, playing their tough defense and allowing only three Eagle players to score. The Lobos scored at will on their way to another lopsided win over the Eagles, 67-38.
Every Lobo player that got on the court scored. Marcos Gonzales lead the way with 17 points and Julian Gomez and Roman Padilla helped with 13 points apiece. Michael Rabago finished with nine points and Adrian Ochoa, blocking numerous shots, had seven points.
Matt Martinez, Rodney Ortiz, Eric Rivera and Gabriel Ramos each scored two points apiece. It was nice to see the Eagle players come up to the Lobo players after the game, apologizing for their tactics, saying they were told to play that way.
The Lobo teams have five more games left on the schedule, all on the road. This week the Lobos will travel to Globe to take on the Tigers on Thursday, Jan. 24. They will board the bus again on Jan. 25, traveling to Surprise to take on the Arizona Charter Academy team.