Panthers compete at TSJC
TRINIDAD- The John Mall Panthers traveled to Trinidad State Junior College to compete in the 73rd annual TSJC Invitational tournament. They have always been a crowd favorite, and this year was no exception as the Panther fans cheered on their Cats.
The Panthers competed in the lower bracket which featured smaller Class A and 2A schools. Their opening round opponents were the Primero Bulldogs, who are favored to win their division this year. The Panthers played the Dogs tough through most of the third quarter until Dog sophomore Justin Robinson and teammate Bill Bryant exploded for 20 third-quarter points. Jacob Wiggins led the Cats in scoring with 14 of his own. By the end of the game, the Dogs won 77-44, sending the Panthers into the consolation rounds.
The following day, the Panthers faced the Holy Trinity Tigers and exploded with an offensive display and an easy 69-42 victory. John Mall opened with a 5-1 run before two turnovers sent the Tigers roaring back, but that would be as close as they got, due to the on-fire shooting of Charlie Whitehead and Tanner Waverling. The Panthers played a strong man-to-man defense, all but shutting down the Tigers. By the end of the first half, the Panthers were in complete control of the game, 31-13. The Panthers never relented, playing aggressive, smart ball as a cohesive unit. Every Panther saw action and contributed to the victory. Leading the Panthers were Whitehead with 25 and Waverling with 14.
Their victory put the Cats into the Consolation championship, facing the Trojans of Wagon Mound (NM). The Panthers were shocked by this unknown school 61-51. Throughout most of the game, the Panthers outplayed the Trojans both inside the lanes and under the boards. In a back-and-forth first quarter for the Panthers, Tanner Waverling tied it up at 15 after a steal and shot at the buzzer. The lead continued to change hands through the second until a pair of three-point shots put Wagon Mound ahead at the midway point, 33-30. The Trojans nailed five three-point shots in the third quarter to pull ahead. While the Panthers answered with buckets of their own, the momentum shifted to Wagon Mound. Their surge continued into the fourth quarter at times building up a 15-point lead. The tenacity of the Panthers would not wane as the boys in Purple continued to outmuscle the Trojans under the boards and in the end narrowed the gap to 10.
The Panthers started mostly freshman and sophomores in the three tournament games. They gained a wealth of experience and playing time to prepare themselves for the rest of the season. They will next play the Farmers in Hoehne Fri. Dec. 12; then the La Veta Redskins Saturday at home. These games should prove to be real barnburners, so get out to support your Panthers.
Panthers open season with a BANG!
TRINIDAD STATE- Even before the season began, two John Mall players were injured in their pre-game warm-ups against the Primero Bulldogs last Thursday. Panther stars, Tanner Waverling and Michael Maldonado collided, sending them both to the floor, blood streaming from their faces. They spent the first half of the game on the trainer’s table getting their injuries stitched up.
In a testimony to the tenacity, drive and dedication of these young men, both returned to the bench for the second half of their game against the Bulldogs. If this is any indication of the determination of these players, then Coach David Harriman has already done his job in building the foundation of a great team.
Waverling returned to play in the third quarter with seven stitches over his eye, then he took an elbow to the mouth, breaking his tooth in half. He did what any professional would do; he swallowed the tooth and continued playing. Another footnote of interest was when the call came for a doctor in the house, and Doc Joseph Jimenez answered. Doc Joe stitched up the pair of Panthers, getting an up-close look at two of his opponents for the next night. You see, Doc Jimenez is the coach for the Holy Trinity Tigers.
Clash in the county
LA VETA- The La Veta Lady Redskins opened their 2008-09 basketball season against the Panthers of John Mall and defeated the Cats in convincing fashion, 50-33. Both schools opened by dropping buckets in what promised to be a fast-paced game. Both played an aggressive first quarter, but turnovers allowed the Skins to open a 12-4 early lead. Just as La Veta Coach Kent Smith promised his team would do, the Redskins executed a full court press, all but stopping the Panthers from setting up plays. The Lady Skins were on fire offensively in the first quarter and led after one, 21-12.
Play slowed down in the second quarter and both teams’ offense failed to capitalize on turnovers and mistakes. By half the Skins led 25-17. La Veta continued their pressure throughout the second half, forcing turnovers which were followed up with easy lay-ups.
One of the highlights of the game was watching Shea Brgoch, Skin senior, and Katie Monahan, Cat junior, battling it out under the boards. Monahan, who has not played high school ball, gave the All-State contender Brgoch a run for her money. High scorers for La Veta were Emily Moll with 16 and Shelby Morgan with 11. For the Panthers, Kristin David hit 12 and Katie Monahan had 8.
In the Junior Varsity game, the Redskins defeated the Panthers 29-8. La Veta will see action tonight through Saturday at the Trinidad High tournament.
Panthers home opener
WALSENBURG- The Lady Panthers hosted the Hoehne Farmers Fri. Dec. 5 and came up short 70-49 in a game that was closer than the score indicated. The Cats dominated the opening minutes of play, jumping to an 11-0 lead before the Farmers got on the boards with a pair of free throws. The Farmers came back with a 12-2 run of their own by the quarter’s end to trail 15-14.
The second quarter saw plenty of back and forth action as Desi Aguirre tied it up at 21 followed up by a Kristin David three-pointer. The Farmers then went on another 10-0 run to take the lead at half 33-26.
When the second half began, the Panther turnovers allowed the Farmers to build a greater lead, thus stopping the Panther momentum. The Farmer defense, which included full court pressure, stopped the hot shooting of Kristin David, who finished the game with 19 points. Monahan finished the game with 11.
The Panthers were competing head-to-head with one of the top 1A girl’s teams in the state. Hoehne had a pair of tall ladies under the boards, and our team lost rebounds. Coach Bustos continued to motivate his team, and these young ladies hustled to the end, even when it was apparent there was no stopping the rolling plow of the Farmers.
In the junior varsity game, the Farmers defeated John Mall. The Panthers were faced with a short bench due to the ineligibilityof several teammates. John Mall will see action tonight at Trinidad in the Miners tournament. See our website for tip-off time.
Redskin grapplers take sixth
COLORADO SPRINGS- La Veta traveled to the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind to participate in a 15-team tournament. The Redskins only had enough wrestlers to field 8 of the necessary 14 weights, but the team captured sixth place over all, including three champions and a second place finish.
Making his high school debut, freshman Adam Ortivez, who was last season’s runner-up Colorado champion for junior high schools, met the expectations of his coaches and surprised more experienced wrestlers by winning the 103 pound championship. He defeated four other grapplers, three by pin fall, to claim his first place medal. Also capturing a first place was Ron Ortivez III, brother of Adam and Stephen Kimbrel. Nicholas Northup made it to the championship round, capturing second place. The other wrestlers competing fared well and Coach Ortivez feels they will do well next time they see action. The team travels to Sargent on Saturday for tournament action.
John Mall grapplers tested
LA JUNTA- The John Mall Panthers traveled to La Junta last Saturday and participated in an eight-team, dual tournament. This was an opportunity for the Cats to wrestle against opponents from some of the toughest schools in the state. Of the eight schools participating, six were ranked in the top ten 3A polls. John Mall took five wrestlers to the tournament, and each saw plenty of action. Returning this season is Waylon Cordova, who won six of his seven matches. Brian Aguirre (5-3), Alex Sample (4-3), Stuart Pino (1-6) and newcomer Eric Piguero (1-6) also competed for the Cats.
The Cats will see action again this Saturday at the Lewis Palmer Invitational Dual meet. According to Coach Josh Vialpando, “The kids worked hard and gained some real experience. As the season progresses, we should be competitive if we stay healthy.”
Junior high rocks and rolls
WALSENBURG- The JM Grizzlies continued their winning ways this past week with victories against Hoehne on December 4, then a win at the John Mall Tournament on Saturday. The seventh grade team is still undefeated, beating the Farmers 51-33 on Friday. Tono Ortiz was high scorer with 19 followed up by Brandon Vigil with 11 and Clayton Berger with 8. The eighth grade team also defeated Hoehne 40-23. Dylan Tenorio led scoring with 13, followed by Andre Ortiz with 10.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies hosted their own tournament, featuring both the seventh and eighth grade teams playing at Peakview and the high school gym. Fowler Middle School, Las Animas, Ward Middle School and John Mall competed. Both Grizzly teams took home the gold. Both teams opened play against Fowler, winning easily to advance to the finals. The seventh grade team beat Ward (Crowley County) while the eighth grade team defeated Las Animas, who have defeated John Mall twice during the season. The teams play Hoehne today and will wrap up the season hosting Raton Middle School on Saturday.