Warrior basketball starts now

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso junior Josiah Polendo, seen here in a game against Tularosa from last season, is one of many Warriors still playing football as the basketball season begins.

RUIDOSO – To start the basketball season, Ruidoso High school might be the victim of its own success.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso junior Josh Romero dunks the ball during preseason practice. Romero and fellow junior Aiden Huey will see lots of time in the paint this season.

That’s because boys coach Billy Page is waiting on 12 players to get finished with football before they can hit the hardwood.

“That’s the first time in a while that we’ve had a lot of kids play multiple sports,” Page said. “It’s a good thing, though, to cross train. I hope we don’t get the football players until December.”

That last comment, of course, referred to the Ruidoso football team’s appearance in the Class 4A State playoffs. The Warriors defeated Hatch in the State semifinals on Friday, with the State championship to be played Dec. 1 or 2.

Among those doing some cross training are brothers Sebastian and Josaiah Polendo, both of whom are making a great impact on the football team this season.

Another is Gabriel Dorame, who had 530 yards and two touchdowns receiving in the regular season.

Additionally, there are some football players like Isaiah Otero, who are making the jump to basketball for the first time in a while.

While all the cross training is a good thing, according to Page, it’s also a problem at the beginning of the basketball season.

With one sport still going on and so many players tied up, Page is having to rely on a lot of younger kids when the season tips off on Nov. 28 at Dexter.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso senior Aldo Cardenas is back for one more year of basketball as a Warrior.

“It allows me to see some kids in a different light,” Page said. “The younger kids will have to step up and play a major role early, to see what they’re made of.

“Also, I get to see what leadership qualities they bring,” he added.

Of those that Page will have already on the hardwood, he’s very happy to have junior Josh Romero back in the middle, as well as a newer face in Aiden Huey.

One name that Page is really high on is sophomore Caden Clevenger.

“I played him some as a freshman, and he had a great offseason in the summer,” Page said. “He’s one I think will be a bright spot in the future.”

There’s also senior Aldo Cardenas, who played JV ball a few years back and is bringing his quickness back.

Page will need all this talent and speed to compete against a District 4-4A field that features the likes of Hope Christian, Portales and Moriarty.

Hope has won a State title eight of the last nine years, while Portales was the team the Huskies beat in the title game last season.

Moriarty is no pushover either, and New Mexico Military Institute is a mystery each year.

“You never know what they’re going to have,” Page said, referring to the Colts. “You can’t leave them out.

“I’m looking for us to have a good season, minimum of 16-17 wins,” he added. “Our schedule isn’t easy, but we are better and our expectations of what we want to accomplish is planted in the boys.”

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