Northern’s Bryce Simmons scores against Ottawa University of Arizona in the Eagles 113-74 victory Oct. 27 in Espanola (photo by Roman Martinez).
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
The Northern New Mexico College mens basketball team likes to think of themselves as family. In two impressive wins at home to start their season, Northern looks like it has a big family.
The Eagles defeated the University of the Southwest Mustangs 98-77 in their opening game of the season Oct. 25 at Eagle Memorial Gym, getting 60 points off the bench. In their next game Oct. 27 in Espanola, Northern manhandled Ottawa University of Arizona 113-74 with 15 different players putting points in the scorebook for the Eagles.
The Eagles got off to a slow start against Southwest until they found their stroke from beyond the three-point arc. Northern finished the game sinking 16-of-33 from long distance. That included a sizzling 8-of-13 in the second half when the Eagles pulled away after leading 47-38 at halftime. Sophomore Makye Richards sank 7-of-10 from beyond the arc and led all scorers with 27 points. Sophomore Jose Rodriguez nailed all three of his shots from long range and made the most of his playing time, tallying 13 points in 12 minutes.
The Eagles also dominated inside, controlling the boards with 45 rebounds to just 30 for the Mustangs. Junior Naquwan Solomon tallied 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. A defensive adjustment at halftime helped Northern pull away in the second half.
The Eagles took on Ottawa next and midway through the first half it became obvious that the Spirit were overmatched against Northern. It didn’t seem to matter who the Eagles had on the floor. Ottawa just couldn’t keep up with Northern. Coach Ryan Cordova substituted liberally, often four to five players at a time.
The Eagles took control early in the first half. Leading 9-7, Northern went on a 14-0 run fueled by Seth Warfield off the bench as he scored eight points. A basket by Jeremy Anaya pushed the lead to 35-15 and after back-to-back three-pointers by Tomas Rodriguez and Zaccheus Jackson the lead was 55-27. Northern led 55-32 at halftime.
The lead grew bigger and bigger in the second half. At 8:53 a three-pointer by Jose Rodriguez pushed the lead to over 50 points and made the score 94-43 in favor of Northern. The Eagles cruised to an easy victory and every player on the roster put points in the scorebook for Northern.
Four players scored in double figures for Northern. Richards had 16 points and Solomon 15 points. Estevan Martinez and Rodriguez each had a dozen points for the Eagles
The Eagles will likely face a tougher opponent Friday when they host NCAA Division II Fort Lewis College from Durango, Colo.
Northern's Cheyenne Cordova drives to the basket against Oklahoma Panhandle State in the Eagles 55-45 loss Oct. 27 in Espanola (photo by Roman Martinez).
LADY EAGLES SPLIT
The Northern New Mexico College womens basketball team started the season with a 64-50 victory over the University of the Southwest Lady Mustangs Oct. 25 in Espanola.
The Lady Eagles got off to a slow start and good shooting by the Mustangs gave Southwest an 18-11 lead after one quarter. The Mustangs sank 9-of-17 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 three-pointers.
It was a total turnaround in the second quarter. It was Northern that sank 9-of-17 shots and that included 4-of-7 three pointers. The Eagles led 30-29 at halftime. Melanie Secody provided a spark off the bench, hitting three three-pointers and scoring 13 points.
Northern took control of the game in the third quarter. Turnovers led to more scoring opportunities for the Eagles and they were on target, hitting 9-of-16 shots that included a sizzling 5-of-6 from three-point range. Point guard Cheyenne Cordova led the charge and the Eagles led 55-41 going into the fourth quarter.
It was a lackluster fourth quarter as the Eagles hit just 4-of-21 shots from the floor, missing all five of their three-point attempts. The Mustangs weren’t any better and shot just 4-of-16 from the floor. Each team scored only nine points and the Eagles hung on for a 64-50 victory.
Secody led Northern with 18 points and Cordova had 16 points for the Eagles.
The inability to put the ball in the basket that Northern was able to overcome against Southwest proved to be their downfall when they took on Oklahoma Panhandle State University Oct. 27 in their next game at Espanola. The Eagles hit just 3-of-15 shots and trailed 13-9 after one quarter. Northern did a better job of finding the bottom of the basket in the second quarter and came back to trail by just a point 30-29 at halftime.
The second half saw Northern’s shooting woes return as the Eagles sank just 3-of-16 shots in the third quarter and fell behind 43-37 heading into the fourth quarter. Panhandle wasn’t much better at scoring from the floor and hit just 1-of-7 shots in the fourth quarter. Panhandle was able to find the range from the foul line, sinking 11-of-16 attempts to hold off Northern as the Eagles continued to struggle to score. The Eagles sank just 3-of-15 shots and missed all six of their three-point attempts. Panhandle held on for a 55-45 victory
The only player to find the range for the Eagles was guard Leah DeAguero, who sank 4-of-6 from the floor, including three of her five three-point attempts. She finished with 11 points to lead Northern. Overall, the Eagles shot just 25-percent from the floor and sank just four of their 20 attempts from three-point land.
Northern faces Fort Lewis College Friday. It will be a homecoming for 2016 Espanola High School graduate Kaitlyn Romero, who now plays for the Lady Sky Hawks. Former Santa Fe High School player, Kayla Herrera also plays for Fort Lewis and was a member of the Demonettes’ 2014 Class 5A state championship team.