Magdalena’s D’Shaun Vinyard is the’ Best Small-Town Player in the Nation after garnering over 100,000 votes.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

MAGDALENA—Top-ranked Magdalena had enough points in the first four minutes of their District 2-1A basketball game to beat Reserve as the Steers handed out a 69-10 throttling on Feb. 4.

Fueled by D’Shaun Vinyard’s 27 points, the Steers had the 35-point mercy rule in place at halftime, which allowed the hometown crowd the time to go home and vote for the senior online at for the best small-town basketball player in the nation.

Voting for the honor ended at midnight on Feb. 4, and Vinyard (New Mexico’s only nominated player) ended up drawing 100,899 votes and winning 52.69 percent of the total ballots cast. Second-place finisher Walker Patton (Georgia) garnered 85,033 votes.

Vinyard’s listed stats at SBLive include 18.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds, and those numbers have improved since his nomination.

The senior all-stater would trade the individual honor for another return to the state title game, where the Steers have lifted the last two state trophies.

Magdalena is on track for a third title and only needs to continue to mature under coach Jory Mirabal’s system. If anyone can beat Magdalena – it’s Magdalena, and that’s why Mirabal digs into his bench at every available opportunity.

In a game where you are leading 25-2, it’s a case of getting your starters their needed minutes while subbing players and still maintaining a high level of play.

“We just try to see if we can find some continuity and to see if they can get used to running some of our sets together. Because a lot of times when you’re subbing, you’re not necessarily looking for that,” Mirabal said. “When they are running an offense, they have to think a lot more.”

Things also slow down a bit because Mirabal is running a different scheme when the Steers have a big lead.

“We have pulled out of our full court pressure, and we have condensed things, and we aren’t getting up and down the court as fast as we do with our first unit,” Mirabal said.

Things may slow down on offense, but even without pressing Magdalena’s in-your-face-defense around the paint leaves few openings.

“A lot of it is fundamentals — being in the right position on rotations, ensuring that we understand our responsibilities. We talked about more of that kind of stuff than statistics. We’re taking care of businesses, and that’s the goal for the next four games,” Mirabal said.

The Steers, at 22-0, are chasing history with New Mexico’s longest active winning streak now setting at 37 games, which is tied for 10th all time.


Ayden Herschbach 2, Kael Stephens 9, D’Shaun Vinyard 27, Jeff Stuteville 11, Joseph Zamora 15, Matthew Parker 5.