NMMI Sports Press
Tragedy struck just hours before the first game of the new year for one of the members of the New Mexico Military Institute Bronco basketball team. Freshman forward GWarren Douglas, NMMI's current season-leader in points, learned just hours before tip-off that his father had passed away in an auto accident.
Perhaps in tribute to his father, Douglas led all scorers with 25 points against Northern New Mexico College - his highest point total of the season – to help NMMI down the Eagles' JV squad, 99-68.
"The points don't matter," said head Bronco coach Sean Schooley. "It was good for GWarren to come in and play. He was very upset on the bench, then he'd get in the game and feel good – a little relief, at least for a brief moment."
The Eagles started out strong, hitting shots from behind the arc to give them an early lead.
"Northern New Mexico came out to play, shooting seven threes in the first half," said coach Schooley. "And we started out slow, like I knew we would. But this is a great game for us to play before conference. Usually we don't have anything, and just start right back with Odessa or South Plains College."
The Eagles' hot hand was Carlos Cordova. He hit four threes and a pair of free throws in the first eight minutes of play, to give NNMC a 17-14 lead.
However, the inside play of NMMI, both on offense and defense, was overwhelming. In the first half, the Broncs shot 54% from the field, thanks to numerous plays in the paint, and out-rebounded the Eagles 24-13. That inside onslaught gave the Institute an 18-point lead at the buzzer, 48-30.
In the second half, NMMI's defense shut down NNMC's offense, not allowing a single point for the first five minutes of play. That led to an 11-point run, effectively putting the game out of reach.
"It was a good win for us," said Schooley. "We've been off for almost a month – just trying to shake out a little bit of the rust. We've proved that we're athletic enough to play, but just still young enough to not quite have it all figured out."
Three other Institute players posted double-figures in scoring, along with Douglas' top tally: freshman forward Kaleb Hicks had 22; freshman point guard Isaiah Francis dropped in 20; and freshman guard Jermane Carter put up 11.
No Broncos earned the 'double-d' mark in rebounds, but every player pulled down at least one board in the game, led by eight from freshman point guard Keith Deloatch.
"We go to Odessa on Monday and we're right back in it," explained coach Schooley about the first of several upcoming games left in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play. "They're good, one of the best teams in the conference. They're an athletic, long team – kind of like we are."
That contest is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7th at 6:30 PM CST in Odessa, TX.
NMMI's next home game is Thursday, Jan. 10 vs. South Plains College at 6:30 PM MST in the Cahoon Armory gym.