It’s not exactly how Hobbs basketball coach Shelby Reeves wants to see his team start out basketball games, but so far it has been working, and Saturday night was no different as the Eagles overcame a slow start to rout the visiting Farmington Scorpions 80-66 in the first round of the NMAA Class 5A state tournament.
“That always scares me with them,” Reeves said of the slow starts. “Sometimes it can be misleading because we came back against Carlsbad and because probably half of our games we started slow, so it scares me, but As long as they can pick it up.”
And pick it up they did.
With 2:07 left in the first quarter, the Eagles trailed the Scorpions 20-10. But things were about to change.
“We have been having a lot of slow starts and that can’t happen, especially at this time of year,” Hobbs senior Jalen Goar said. “It is anybody’s ball game now.”
Aaron Mora sank a bucket with 1:48 left in the first while drawing a foul. The Hobbs senior went to the line and while he missed the and-one, it was the start of a 16-0 run that lasted into the second quarter.
Jesus Ramos did his best to keep the Eagles in the game early. The senior accounted for half his team’s first quarter scoring, putting up 12 of his 19 points in the first eight minutes of the game.
“This is the first round of state,” Ramos said. “This is really my first time ever being in state, so I wanted to make sure I left my mark.”
Hobbs closed out the first quarter on a 14-0 run, taking a 24-20 lead into the second. The Eagles then sank a pair of free throws early in the second quarter for a 26-20 lead. In a span of two minutes and 53 seconds, the Eagles went from down by 10 to leading by six.
“We know sometimes we start slow, but we get back into the flow of things the more we start pushing the ball and running our offense,” Goar said. “A couple of shots start to hit and the next thing you know, we get our momentum, the crowd gets into it, and we are back into the game.”
Farmington would briefly knot the game at 27-all, but the Eagles would not trail the rest of the game. By halftime, the Eagles had built up a 41-36 lead.
While the game was still close heading into the break, the Eagles put it out of reach in the second half. Hobbs had opened the third with a 7-0 and a 15- 5 run, giving the Eagles a 15 point, 56-41, lead not even half way through the quarter. By the end of the third, Hobbs had outscored the Scorpions 23-10.
“Basketball is all about getting buckets. Buckets and stops,” Ramos said. “That is the only way to basketball. Once the buckets start falling, I know my defense is going to come in and we are straight from there.”
Heading into the final eight minutes of play, the Eagles led 64-46. Hobbs then extended it to 23 points with 7:21 left on the clock. By the 5:30 mark, Hobbs had pushed its lead to 27 points. 75-45.
But that was as high as it would get.
Farmington, despite knowing it was going to lose, did not back down. The Scorpions actually outscored the Eagles 20-16 in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles had four players in double figures. Jalen Goar finished with a game-high 24 points. The senior sank five treys, extending his Hobbs Eagle career record to 233 for his career. Goar also had six rebounds and a pair of assists.
“They are a tough team,” Goar said. “I had to let the game come to me and take the open shot and make the right passes for our team.”
Ramos finished with 19 points and eight rebounds while Mora chipped in 16 points and grabbed seven boards. Additionally, Michael Mackey had 11 points, four rebounds, and four steals
“To have four guys in double figures, that is always good,” the Eagles coach said. “Then teams can’t just key in on one guy.”
Farmington (20-9) had three players with double figure scoring. Cody Vassar-Steen led the Scorpions with 19 points while Trel Griego has 12 and Marcos Araiza chipped in 10.
“They are a tough team to be a No. 13 seed,” Reeves said. “All of them can shoot and they like to penetrate and drive. They are a great team. I can see why they were 20-8 coming in.”
With the win, Hobbs improves to 26-2. The Eagles will now host No. 5 seed Atrisco Heritage in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Tasker Arena.
“Normally we would be preparing to go up (to Albuquerque) on Tuesday to play in the state tournament,” Reeves said. “It has always been like that. The boys always play Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (at Albuquerque). So yes, it is on Wednesday, but it is a home game. I am pleading to everyone, I know you have church, but maybe this one time we can all pray together.”
“We have to be ready to go to war,” Ramos added. “It is not going to get any easier from here on out.”
HOBBS 80, FARMINGTON 66
Farmington 20 16 10 20 – 66
Hobbs 24 17 23 16 – 80
Scoring: Hobbs – Jalen Goar 6 7-11 24, Jesus Ramos 6 4-5 19, Aaron Mora 6 4-5 16, Michael Mackey 5 1-1 11, Ronnie Ross 2 2-4 6, Ethan Vanlandingham 2 0-1 4, Totals 27 18-25 80;
Farmington – Cody Vassar-Steen 5 6-7 17, Trel Griego 5 0-0 12, Marcos Araiza 4 2-5 10, Cayden Yazzie 3 2-2 9, Patrick Shay 2 0-0 5, Caden Granger 2 0-0 5, Alex Serrano 1 0-0 3, Jevon Smith 1 1-2 3, Michael Beck 1 0-0 2, Totals 24 11-16 66
3-pointers: Hobbs 8 (Goar 5, Ramos 3); Farmington 7 (Griego 2, Vassar-Steen, Yazzie, Serrano, Granger, Shay)
Rebounds: Hobbs 35 (Ramos 8, Mora 7, Goar 6); Farmington 25 (Yazzie 9, Vassar-Steen 8, Smith 5)
Steals: Hobbs 6 (Mackey 4); Farmington 3
Blocks: Hobbs 2 (Mora, Ramos); Farmington 0
Assists: Hobbs 7; Farmington N/A
Turnovers: Hobbs 9; Farmington 19
Fouls: Hobbs 15; Farmington 22 (Yazzie, Araiza)
Technical Fouls: Hobbs 1 (Ramos); Farmington 1 (Yazzie)
Records: Hobbs 26-2; Farmington 20-9