While Los Lunas High School’s new girls basketball coach, Ron Geyer, was getting his first look at the players who will make up his team next fall at the New Mexico Games over the weekend (see story at left), the Tigers’ boys coach, Hamilton Doyle, was sizing up his squad.
After making it to the finals of the Class 3A-5A division, the outlook, he said, looks good.
“I call (the New Mexico Games) our season opener because it gives me an idea of where we are, from the time we started after-school workouts until now,” he said. “And it looks like we’re going to have a pretty good ballclub.”
The Tigers won their first five games in the double-elimination tournament but lost two close contests at the end to the Albuquerque Warriors, a team made up of Valley High School players, to place second.
Needing to beat the Warriors just once to claim the title, Los Lunas lost to the Albuquerque school by scores of 43-39 and 39-33 in the championship game.
“I’m happy with the guys’ effort,” he said. “They did a lot of good things, and I saw some surprises.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise, Doyle said, was the play of 6-foot, 1-inch senior-to-be Jared Greivel. “He carried us,” said the coach.
The Tigers also got solid play from a group of players who will also be entering their senior seasons next fall — guards Josh Hessinger, Omar and Oscar Vargas and post players Jared Shue and Ben Wilhelm — and big man Richard Davis, who will be a junior.
Doyle said, from what he saw, only minor adjustments will need to be made for the Tigers to be a contending team next season.
“I’m happy with where we are. I thought it went very well, and we can only get better,” he said. “But I told the guys, after it was over with, that they can expect me to be harder on them now because I can’t let them slip.”
Belen’s boys team also had a shot at the Warriors, but couldn’t keep up the pace. “We started out really well but had a let down,” he said. “They were up by 17 points at one point, and we ended up losing by 12.”
The Eagles won their opening game against the Albuquerque Heat, a team made up mostly of players attending Albuquerque High and Rio Grande. After the loss to the Warriors, Belen was eliminated from the tournament by losing to a team from Santa Fe.
Coach Medina was most impressed by the play of post players Marc Sanchez and Rodney Harrison. “They did a good job inside, but the defense on the inside needs to be worked on. We need to do a better job stopping penetration from the guards,” he said.
Medina also cited John Mark Goodman and incoming freshman Dale Sanchez for their play.
The Eagles will open play in the Albuquerque Public Schools summer basketball league with a home game against Manzano on Thursday. The junior varsity game begins at 6:30 p.m., while the varsity will begin about 8 p.m.
Los Lunas is looking forward to having another shot at the boys from Valley this summer. “We’ll see them again in the I-25 league,” Doyle said.