Younger players like freshman point guard Ayden Herschbach showed off their talents once Magdalena took a big lead against Ramah.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain photos


All it took was one possession, the opening one. The Magdalena Steers came home with the opening tip. Senior Joren Mirabal got the ball and without hesitation swished a three-pointer within the first five seconds of the game.

The game was a rout on Magdalena’s home floor with the Steers winning 82-12 against the Ramah Mustangs, continuing their undefeated 2021-22 season.

“I was taking my shots with confidence tonight,” Mirabal said. “Our energy from warmups showed how sharp we were from the beginning for this game. That sharpness carried straight into the game. Myself, I have confidence from the opening tip which is why I had no doubts about taking that quick first shot.”

Magdalena was hot early with an 11-0 lead in less than three minutes of play, causing Ramah to call a timeout. The stoppage in play did not help the visiting team as Steers juniors D’Shaun Vinyard and Kael Stephens went for back-to-back-to-back dunks that had the home crowd on its feet.

Junior Kael Stephens lining up for a game changing dunk.

The Mustangs finally got on the board off of two free throws. It was 37-4 after the first quarter. Mirabal continued his onslaught from the three-point line early in the second. Head Coach Jory Mirabal was bringing in the teams’s second unit before halftime. As Ramah hit the locker room several players expressed disappointment about how they felt Magdalena was rubbing it in during the game.

“This was a game about giving our players opportunities to get experience,” coach Mirabal said. “We’re a full court defense and we only did that for the first two minutes. You saw the score. If we were trying to rub it in the final scoreboard would have been way worse. We have nothing but respect for every opponent. I’ve coached on the flip side of a game like this. All I can say is you can complain about what happened on the court or simply go home and get better.”

In the second half things continued to go Magdalena’s way. Vinyard launched a perfect corner three to get the team going right out of the break. Younger players like freshman Jeffrey Stuteville were working hard to grab second chance rebounds that resulted in scores.

Despite being up 67-9 after the third quarter, the Steers bench continued to chant “D-UP! D-UP! D-UP! D-UP!” Each possession felt like a playoff atmosphere in the gym. Stephens and several other starters came in late in the game to get a few extra reps.

“Coming into this game I knew this was going to be a lot of fun,” Kael said. “Most of my points, including my dunk, came off of a lot of hustle from my teammates. We were able to take advantage inside and outside as a team tonight. Our team can also work on hustling harder going forward, but tonight we played well together.”

After the game, coach Mirabal addressed what transpired the previous weekend.

“The games offer an opportunity for players to escape,” he said. “I know what happened is weighing on everybody’s minds and hearts. You can see it on the faces of these kids. We’ve just tried to let these kids go out and play loose. Try to have some fun. Not really worry about anything else.”

After winning the State Championship earlier this year, the Steers have not lost a game so far in 2021. 6-0 places them atop the NM Class A standings. An away game against the Chaparal Lobos is next up on December 16.

Class A Standings:

  1. Magdalena; 6-0.
  2. Mesilla Valley Christian; 6-0.
  3. Springer; 4-0.