The Varsity Tiger Boys basketball team scored an overwhelming 44-16 victory over the Hatch Valley Bears in the opening game of the Rio Grande Shoot-Out, Thursday afternoon. The shootout, hosted by the Tigers in the Den at Hot Springs High, has six teams contending for the title, with round two coming Friday, starting at 3:00 p.m. when Tularosa will face Hatch. The Tigers will take on Sliver High in round two, at 6:00 p.m. Friday.
The Tigers opened their battle with Hatch by opening up a 14-4 lead in the first quarter. By the end if the half, as the teams retreated to the locker rooms to talk things over, the scoreboard showed the Tiger's dominating 30-8 lead. In fact, the points the Tigers put up in the first half would have been more than enough to carry the win.
In the second half, the stifling Tiger defense again held the Hatch team to just eight points, while putting up 14 more of their own as Tiger's Head Coach Derek Bean cleared his bench to get all the team plenty of quality minutes on the court.
With the focus on defense, the team more than succeeded in holding their opponent to under 40, in fact, they held them under 20. While we await the stats on the game, here's some of the scoring highlights. The big man in the middle, Ethan Flores was the big earner in this one, putting up 14 points, with the high flying Randin Gossett just behind with 11. An upcoming sophomore, Jacob Felts, put in his second varsity appearance as a Tiger with six points to his credit. In all, eight Tigers put points on the scoreboard.
From one end of the bench to the other, every Tiger on the court worked with the intensity we have come to expect from this team. Tiger defense put a padlock on the basket while every Tiger was working high for the rebounds and diving low for the loose balls.
The Den was full, with the elementary school coming over to cheer on their Tigers. When they arrived, they were greeted by Tigers from the team who gave each a bottle of water and a bag of popcorn. The shootout, a quality production from beginning to end, is fast becoming a go-to event on the basketball tournament circuit.