Magdalena’s opponents in boys basketball may take some heart in knowing that two-time Class 1A first-team All-State member Joren Mirabal will not be playing next season after his upcoming graduation.
But it’s not like things are going to get any easier for those tipping off against the Steers as they are the only team returning two additional first team members in junior guard D’Shaun Vinyard and junior forward Kael Stephens.
As a matter of fact, of the eight-member first team, Fort Sumner’s Clay Norman is the only other returning player next year. And only Clovis Christian returns two All-State players, both from the second team.
The trio of Mirabal, Vinyard and Stephens powered Magdalena to a second straight state championship in March with a 71-55 victory over Elida. The past two seasons, the team has compiled a 46-1 record and has not lost to a 1A team over that time.
“We have a saying that we’ve been using that all ships rise with tide,” Magdalena coach Jory Mirabal said. “When you have a successful season, it’s due to players who are successful. So, when they get the recognition, it’s an individual award but it’s a team recognition. Your team doing well is what promotes those kids to getting those rewards.”
Joren Mirabal averaged 25.3 points and 5.5 assists and 5.1 steals per game. Vinyard added 16.9 points while shooting 60 percent from the field, grabbing six rebounds and 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals while Stephens contributed 11.3 points and 0.7 blocks.
As for what the Steers have returning as opposed to other teams around the state, coach Mirabal said he’s focused primarily on his own squad
“You take each year for what it is,” he said. “You don’t look back too much, and you don’t look forward too much. We’re constantly in competition with ourselves. We want to be the best we can be as a program and as individuals. We just continue to do what we do and work on ourselves.”
The Socorro boys team, which entered the 3A state tournament as the No. 1 seed, but then lost in the semifinals to St. Michael’s landed senior guard Duda Jackson on the first team. He was the only member of the Warriors to be recognized. Jackson, who had a rare off-game against the Horsemen, finished the season averaging 24.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and three assists per game.
“To be honest with you, I think Duda Jackson is one of the top-five players in the state, in any class.,” Warriors coach J.J. Griego said following the semifinal loss.
Surprisingly, the Socorro girls, which reached the state quarterfinals before losing a tough, tight game at Santa Fe Indian School, did not have any selections, although senior forward Taelene Fowler certainly seemed worthy. She averaged 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game and scored 27 against the Braves.
Socorro coach Juan Alvarado said he never got a nominating petition email from the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.