Socorro first-year boys basketball coach Ray Gonzales’ focus is on player and team chemistry development rather than wins and losses because, as a veteran coach, he realizes the games that matter are down the road.

Fans were probably scratching their heads when they watched Gonzales work through his lineup with various substitutions that wouldn’t make sense if the contest had been a District 3-3A game.

Even Gonzales admits things looked funny at times.

“There might have been a couple of mistakes because I’m searching throughout the preseason for a combination of kids that play well together. I’m looking for who can score, who’s rebounding, who can handle the pressure and stuff. There’s a couple of times I’ve probably made a substitution where I looked on the floor and said, oh my gosh, I don’t have a ball handler, or I don’t have a shooter.”

Due to the success of the Warriors football team, a Socorro boys basketball coach can count on several of his players needing more time to be ready at the start of a basketball season. Gonzales will change his focus on substituting once he finds that mix of eight players he needs.

“We want development and good solid play. I want eight solid players in the rotation. I wish I could do 10,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales is a full-time teacher, and his being picked as Socorro’s next coach was felt immediately with the turnout of 30 players for high school basketball. The relationships he has developed in the classroom and along the hallways have spilled over into the basketball court—players who hadn’t thought about playing have stepped up.

“I love working with them. I do. I always tell them I don’t. We have a bunch of good kids here,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales may not be worried about the wins and losses at the moment, but that attitude will change. District play will be fun and about getting in other coaches’ heads because Gonzales has coached with all the league coaches at one time or another over his career.

“They’re all good friends. We all like to compete, so it’ll be fun. It’ll be a fun district,” Gonzales said.

At 66 years old, Gonzales knows he’s not the long-term solution for the Warriors basketball program, but maintaining a team and providing consistency is a source of pride while fully admitting he wants to develop someone to take over in the future.

“I took over the program mainly to help out the kids. I’m still capable of coaching and doing things, but I wish I could develop or have somebody take over the program and continue. My goal is to find a quality coach for our players,” Gonzales said.

District 3-3A is expected to be highly competitive this season, and last year’s heavy road schedule might help the Warriors win games they might not be expected to conquer.

The 2023-24 Warriors roster includes Joshua Gutierrez, Jaquavis Brawley, Fernando Torres, Alex Amaro, Cadyn Moneete, Ivan Giron, Jacob Robinson, Andrew Handrich, Jason Padilla, Jacob Angel, William Griego, Luke Gandanegro, Gabriel Giron, Brenden Chavez and Andres Gonzales