RUIDOSO – After an eight-point win at Roswell, the Ruidoso Warriors knew their game against New Mexico Military Institute, Feb. 2, wouldn’t be easy.
For one half, it wasn’t.
After heading to the locker room up by just a point at halftime, the Warriors utilized more patience on offense to earn a 67-47 District 4-4A victory.
Ruidoso (13-9, 2-3 district) was being too impatient with its offense in the first half, working to compensate for the Colts’ superior size.
“Their size plays games with us, I guess,” said Ruidoso coach Billy Page. “They’re very all inside, and they also play hard. They’re not experienced, but they play hard.”
Jalil Adrian didn’t have a lot of points, but he hauled in nine rebound to lead NMMI (3-14, 0-5) while Chris Blair put in 15 points, almost all of them in the second half.
By that point, the Warriors had started the second half with a 13-2 run and had opened up a big lead against NMMI’s zone defense.
“You have to move the defense when they’re in a zone like that,” Page said. “Before, in the first half, we were making one or two passes and tried to get a shot off. We went to the locker room at halftime and I told them to make that extra pass or two.
“We did exactly that, and I don’t think we turned the ball over more than two or three times in the second half.”
Josh Romero benefited the most from Ruidoso’s offensive change, pouring in 27 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, while Juan Aguilar got 18 points, mostly on transition layups.
“In the past, we’ve been a team that will go so hard for three quarters, but then in the final quarter, we just give up on it,” Romero said. “This year we’re trying to change things and get that momentum and win a lot more ball games.”
Ruidoso’s next opponent is Portales, a team the Warriors were leading handily at home before falling by three points.
Page still thinks his team can go to Portales and sneak out a road victory.
“We really needed this game,” Page said of the win.
Notes: It was retro night at Ruidoso, as the Warriors were wearing circa-2001 jerseys for the game. Unfortunately for them, the numbers were different, and Page was called for a technical after misidentifying one of the players . . . NMMI coach Sean Schooley was also hit with a technical to start the fourth quarter after his temper apparently got the best of him.