CARRIZOZO – For most of his basketball coaching career, Trampus Pierson has always had a big man – or at least one bigger than the rest of his team – to rely on.
That changes this season, as he leads a Carrizozo Grizzly team on the court that will have to use speed to win.
“We’re going to have a whole different look this year,” Pierson said. “We don’t have a whole lot of size. What we do have is kids that have a whole lot of hustle.”
Carrizozo is coming off a fairly decent 12-17 season, but the Grizzlies were 1-5 in District 2-1A and fell to Hondo in the first round of the Class 1A State tournament.
Returning from that team is senior Xavier Zamora and juniors Jared Guevara, Tristen Barela, Daniel Zamora, Orion Wyatt, Isaiah Ysasi and Dominic Barela.
Add to that list Alamogordo transfer Jacob Narvaez, who showed his speed on the gridiron with the Grizzly football team this season.
So Carrizozo will have to be speedy to outrun their opponents instead of overpower them inside. It’s new for the team, and it’s kind of new for the coach as well.
“I’ve always had the luxury of at least one big guy that we could rely on,” said Pierson, who came to Carrizozo from Hot Springs High School. “It will be different, but we’re looking forward to it and we’ll try to compete every single night.”
Competing is a big challenge in a classification as loaded with talent as 1A.
That includes a Quemado team that was a State quarterfinalist last season, although they’ve lost a lot of talent to graduation.
Also in District 2-1A is Animas, a team that should have a lot of talent, if that school’s State six-man football championship is any indication.
“Animas has some really good athletes down there,” Pierson said. “Elida has their program back and looking pretty good. Melrose will also be tough.
“Across the board, 1A is going to be really competitive,” he added. “I can’t see any one team that will stand out. We just have to play the game every night and see where we end up.”