Alamo’s Jacob Apache beats a pair of defenders to the basket.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

ALAMO—Led by Scotty Guerro’s 18 points, Alamo Navajo got its basketball season off to a great start on Nov. 22 as the Cougars pummeled Jemez Valley for a runaway 81-37 win.

Coach Lemuel Guerro said he was looking for his Cougars to come out and play hard and show the hometown crowd that all of Alamo’s work in the offseason was about to pay off.

Alamo Navajo’s Cougars take the court for their first game of the year.

“All offseason, we’ve been going to summer camps. We’ve been shooting and working out,” Guerro said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team, and they’re ready to go.”

Guerro was also pleased with how his team was able to score from all over the court, and throughout the game, different players stepped up to keep things rolling.

Jacob Apache’s six points led the Cougars in the first quarter. Still, he got plenty of support from Tayshawn Pino, Mathis Apachito, Mike Monte, Scotty Guerro and Isiah Secatero as Alamo built a dominating 19-5 lead.

The offensive to spread out the scoring was by coach Guerro’s design.

“I talked to the boys, and during practice, we’re all going to win as a team, so we’re going to be moving the ball around pushing the ball,” Guerro said.

Chemistry is essential, but so is communication.

“The way we score comes from communication,” Guerro said.

Alamo communicated its way to a 30-13 second quarter and headed into the locker room with a comfortable 49-18 advantage. Scotty Guerro’s 10 points led the frame’s scoring, and Zephaniah Guerro nailed the Cougars’ first three-pointer along the way.

Alamo’s Tayshawn Pino finds himself surrounded by Jemez defenders.

To Alamo’s credit, the Cougars didn’t let up on defense and played like they were behind.

“I was pleased with how we played and of how the starters worked during our scrimmage,” Guerro said. “I told these guys, if you want to be a starter, you have to earn it. If you want to keep that spot, you must keep working and giving the team all your effort. I want them to get along and for all of them to push each to be better.”

Guerro freely used his bench in the second half, and the Cougars maintained control with a 15-12 advantage in the third quarter before Alamo finished it off with a 17-7 fourth frame.

One of the Cougars’ most notable assets was unselfish play, as Alamo spread the ball around and passed up scoring opportunities to get shots from all over the court.

It will be the kind of play the Cougars need as they match up against defending Class A state champion Magdalena in the Steers Stampede this weekend. It will also be an excellent opportunity for the Cougars to learn what it will take to make the state tournament.

“Defense is going to be our main focus this year because we don’t want teams running up scores,” Guerro said. “Everybody showed up tonight, and they gave it their best all the way. We’re continuing to work harder because we’ve got a tough schedule, and we’ve still got a few rough edges to work on.”

Apache and Mathias Apachito also came up with double-figure scoring with 13 points each and Monte had 10.