Kael Stephens had 16 points for Magdalena as the Steers improved to 25-0 on the season.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

Behind double-figure scoring from D’Shaun Vinyard, Kael Stephens and Clayton Atwood, the Magdalena Steers extended their state-leading 40-game win streak. They celebrated Senior Night with an 81-55 drubbing of Animas on Feb. 11.

The 40-game streak broke Magdalena’s school record of 39 straight wins set by the 2014-16 Steers’ basketball teams and is 7th all-time in New Mexico high school boys basketball.

The new mark ties the mark set by Cliff that was set between 1993-95, and interestingly enough the next mark is 42 games, also set by Cliff (2007-09), and that is who the Steers are finishing off their season against on Feb. 16.

The Steers’ Clayton Atwood (center) reacts to being fouled.

Winning streaks were the last thing on Magdalena coach Jory Mirabal’s mind as his Steers faced Animas looking to continue their stranglehold on District 2-1A with a 9-0 league mark and 25-0 overall.

With Senior Night, there are always some emotions that creep into the evening. Considering how long Mirabal has known his athletes, things are bound to get a little misty-eyed along the way.

“This group of boys are extra special because I’ve literally had them since kindergarten, and to watch them grow up and be more than just basketball players, but the kind of young men that they are, you get a little emotional, you know, knowing that we’re getting to the end of this chapter,” Mirabal said.

Over the course of this year’s crop of seniors’ that include Kael Stephens, D’Shaun Vinyard, Josh Baca, Kaleb Castanon, Jaydon Jaramillo and Clayton Atwood basketball careers, the Steers have gone 101-2 and would probably have another 14-16 wins if not for games lost to Covid restrictions.

Senior Night in Magdalena carries a special meaning.

“It’s a celebration of all their achievements, and you want them to come out and put on the show and have a good time. The nice thing with them is they’re so disciplined anyway that we’re not going to come out, and the wheels are just going to come off. They’re still going to run their sets, and they’re still going to get their shots,” Mirabal said.

The Steers did most of their damage early against Animas as Vinyard and Stephens peppered the basket for 18 and 16 points, respectively. Atwood added an even dozen as Mirabal sought to work out his entire roster.

Without a serious challenge on the court, it gave the Steers a chance to work on their perimeter game, and other than buckets off of offensive rebounds – Magdalena tried to dial it up from long range the entire second half.

It was an opportunity to work on two aspects of their Steers’ game, and Mirabal took it.

“We talked about there’s going to come a time, at some point, where we need to look for that early three. That, combined with my feeling, we can do a better job of rebounding on the offensive end, knowing what some of those shots would do. Because everybody’s going to have an opportunity, you give everybody a chance to offensive rebound at the same time,” Mirabal said.


Lambrent Ganadonegro 3, Ayden Herschbach 3, Kael Stephens 16, D’Shaun Vinyard 18, Josh Baca 3, Kaleb Castanon 6, Jeff Stuteville 6, Krae Stephens 2, Joseph Zamora 4, Jaydon Jaramillo 8, Clayton Atwood 12.