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Boys Hobbs Holiday Tournament

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The 61st annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament gets underway on Thursday at Tasker Arena and it should be a good one.

Once again, there will be three teams making tournament debuts. Lawton Eisenhower, from Oklahoma, El Paso Montwood, from Texas, and Artesia will all be new entrants this season.

As for the rest of the boys’ field, Cleveland and Canutillo will be back for the fourth consecutive year. Cleveland will look to defend its 2018 title while Canutillo will finally get to open play against a team other than Hobbs. Shiprock is back for its second year while Arizona’s South Mountain returns for its fourth go-around. South Mountain last made the trip in 2016.

There will be a slight change to the schedule of games this year. Texas schools are not allowed to play the day after Christmas, but may travel then, so the Texas schools, and the teams set up to play them in the first round, will not play until Friday. As there are two Texas schools in each bracket, that means there will only be eight games on Thursday with 12 games being played on Friday. To accommodate the extra games, the Hobbs Freshmen High School gym will be used for two of the opening round games and three of the four second round losers bracket games. In all, the freshmen gym will hold six games on Friday.

Artesia Bulldogs

Artesia, N.M.

Years at Holiday Tournament: 1st

Coach: Michael Mondragon

Record: 3-3

Key Players: Clay Houghtalting (6-5, SR), Cole Kincarid (6-6, SR), Johntae Granado (5-7, JR)

Overview: Despite making their Hobbs Holiday Tournament debut this year, the Bulldogs are very familiar. The Bulldogs play the Eagles every year and for the last two seasons, the Eagles have participated in Artesia’s basketball tournament. In fact, earlier this month the Bulldogs and just missed facing each other in the title game. Hobbs and Artesia have met on the court already this year, with the Bulldogs hosting the Eagles Friday in the Bulldog Pit and the Eagles winning by 10 points

Canutillo Eagles

El Paso, Texas

Years at Holiday Tournament: 6th (2010-11, 2016-18)

Coach: Larry Morales

Record: 7-9

Key Players: Sergio Burchell (6-3, SR), Elian Contreras (6-0, SR), Julian Britton (5-10, SR), Izaiah Chavez (5-9, SR)

Overview: Canutillo has 11 players on the roster and 10 of the 11 are juniors (six) or seniors (four). The Eagles bring some height with them, as seven of their 11 players are six-foot or better. For the first time in three years, the Eagles will open the Hobbs Holiday Tournament against a team other than Hobbs. The Eagles won their most recent game, but have only won back-to-back games twice this season.

Cleveland Storm

Rio Rancho, N.M.

Years at Holiday Tournament: 5th (2013, 2016-18)

Coach: Sean Jimenez

Record: 7-0

Key Players: Tre Watson III (6-5, JR), Evan Gonzales (5-10, JR), Nathan Hasberry (5-11, JR)

Overview: For the second straight year, the Storm come into the Hobbs Holiday Tournament with a 7-0 record. Cleveland returns for its fourth straight season and will the No. 2 team in the New Mexico Coaches Poll will looking to defend its 2018 title as Cleveland beat the Eagles in the championship game last year.

Hobbs Eagles

Hobbs

Years at Holiday Tournament: 61st

Coach: Shelby Reeves

Record: 7-5

Key Players: Teren Smith (SR), Jalen Goar (SO), Enrique Valenzuela (SR), Quintrel Van Hook (SR), Aaron Mora (SO), Caurtrey Morgan (SO)

Overview: Once again the Eagles have seen a lot of turnover on their roster. Despite having several seniors, the Eagles are relatively young team. Teren Smith and Jalen Goar carry a lot of the offensive load. For the Eagles to have any success, Smith needs to have close to a double-double every game and Goar needs to be able to hit his shots from outside the arc. With the rest of their team, the Eagles can be dangerous when it comes to shooting threes, but if the shots aren’t falling, they need to adjust and find ways to score.

Lawton Eisenhower Eagles

Lawton, Okla.

Years at Holiday Tournament: 1st

Coach: Wade Wallace

Record: 0-3

Key Players: Shawn Williams (6-4, SR), Diego Toca (5-10, SR), Dwan McNeil (5-10, SR)

Overview: The only winless team to be in the tournament, the Eisenhower Eagles have played just three games played this year, the fewest games played of any team in the tournament this season, and none of the games have been close. Lawton Eisenhower has lost by 15, 50, and 20 points this season. The Eagles do bring some height with them as they boast five players at 6-foot or better and three at 6-foot, 3-inches or taller.

Montwood Rams

El Paso, Texas

Years at Holiday Tournament: 1st

Coach: Konner Tucker

Record: 5-8

Key Players: Johnny Alvarado (5-7, SR), Isaac Tinajero (5-10, SR)

Overview: Montwood is making its Hobbs Holiday Tournament debut this year. With only two seniors, the Rams are a young team. However, Montwood does have five juniors on its roster. The other two players are a freshman and a sophomore. The Rams have won their last two games.

Shiprock Chieftains

Shiprock, N.M.

Years at Holiday Tournament: 2nd (2018)

Coach: Chester H. Atcitty Jr.

Record: 3-4

Key Players: Robert Whitehorse (6-2, SR), Victor Malone (6-0, SR), Takobe Charley (6-0, SR), Shannon Dale (6-3, JR)

Overview: Heading into its second year at the Hobbs Holiday Tournament, the Chieftains are still looking for their first win after losing all three games last year. This year the Chieftains open the tournament against host Hobbs. Through six games this season, Shiprock is 2-4. Shiprock’s second round game will be against either Arizona’ South Mountain or Texas’ El Paso Montwood, giving the Chieftains games against teams from three different states this season. Shiprock has already play a team from Durango, Colorado as well as a team from Blanding, Utah.

South Mountain Jaguars

Phoenix, AZ

Years at Holiday Tournament: 4th (2007-08, 2016)

Coach: Jeremy Soria

Record: 10-4

Key Players: Kaleb McCray (6-6, SR), Alijah Thomas (6-5, SR), Mailek Manuel (6-2, SR) Kyree Ware (5-10, SR)

Overview: After a two-year absence, South Mountain makes its return to the Hobbs Holiday Tournament. The Jaguars enter play on a six game winning streak. They last appeared in the HHT in 2016 when they loss all three games. South Mountain is currently riding a five-game losing streak in Tasker Arena, dating back to the 2008 Tournament when the Jaguars opened the tourney with a win, but lost the next two games.

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