The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Dora pushes past Evangel Christian


January 14, 2018

Eric Murray

Dora's Slade Hamann prepares for a layup in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Evangel Christian. The Coyotes beat the Eagles, 69-34, thanks in part to Hamann's team-high 18 points.

DORA — The Coyotes boys basketball program has made strides in John Wootton's first year at the helm, and it showed on Saturday afternoon, following a 69-34 victory over Evangel Christian. Dora went on a 15-0 run in the second quarter to seize control of a tight ballgame, to ultimately cruise on home from there.

"Well, we changed defenses — I think that helped," Wootton said. "We put a little more pressure on them and I think we finally woke up. It's kind of a different day with no girls game, and things were kind of strange for awhile."

Some wires got crossed, with Dora originally scheduling a doubleheader only to find out Saturday Evangel didn't field a girls team this year. That left the two boys teams to sit around and give late-arriving fans a reasonable chance to arrive, and after a slow back and forth start, the Coyotes (10-5) finally caught fire.

Dora led by two points, 15-13, in the early stages of the second period. Xavier Gramzow started the Coyotes' 15-0 run with back-to-back buckets, including a turnaround jumper. Slade Hamann then followed with consecutive corner 3s from the exact same spot.

Hamann would then go on to have a fastbreak layup to cap the 15-0 run, before adding yet another 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half to give Dora a commanding 35-15 lead over the Eagles (6-11).

"They changed defense and they got a little more aggressive. They came out in a 1-3-1 trapping defense, and we just didn't handle the pressure," Eagles coach Edward Khader said. "But, we didn't move the ball very well. We went a little too much 1-on-1 and tried to swing the ball from side to side and make their defense move."

Khader went on to say that he tried to get his players to move the ball more after half, and play with a little more heart. In the early going, however, the injury-laden Eagles showed a lot of grit.

Lucas Tenorio hit an early trey to put the Eagles ahead by one in the opening minutes of the game, before Dora went on an 8-0 run to go ahead, 10-3. Zac Dewbre had a pair of beautiful baskets to start the run, as he had a spinning putback jumper and a fast break layup off the glass, before a Hamann backdoor cut really opened things up.

Evangel Christian, however, soon responded with a basket-and-1 from Andrew Taylor, and then a triple from Edward Khader III. The one-point deficit would soon expand back to six to end the first quarter.

But, Evangel Christian opened up the second quarter with a quick 4-0 run, before the Coyotes ultimately took over for good. Hamann led Dora with 18 points, including four buckets from downtown.

As for the Eagles, Taylor had 13 points for a very young squad trying to find their stride. "We lost six seniors last year, so this is a very young group. There's not a lot of varsity experience, there's only two kids that had varsity experience," Coach Khader said.

"We started off slow, but we won our last three before we came up here. I think we're moving in the right direction, but hopefully we pick it up when district starts next week. But I think we're moving in the right direction — we'll get there."

Evangel Christian, however, is not the only one battling injuries and growing pains. According to Wootton, while his Coyotes have certainly made progress to this point, losing a key player like Aaron Jasso for the season has been a setback.

"We have some kids that are just getting around to getting well now, and we have some people who are still banged up. It's been slower than we wanted, but hopefully now we can catch a little momentum and get things going a lot better," Wootton explained.

"We just gotta get better (heading into district play next week). I mean, we gotta get better offensively and we gotta be able to handle pressure, because we know Fort Sumner's gonna bring the pressure against us. Logan's not bad, they've got a big guy inside that we have to handle."


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