Warren Chewiwi looks for the inside lane.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

HOT SPRINGS—Coach J.J. Griego’s master plan came to a successful conclusion in Hot Springs on Valentine’s Day as his Socorro Warriors basketball team captured the District 3-3A basketball title with a 47-42 win. Socorro followed that up with a 57-50 win over Cobre to finish league play at 6-0.

At 11-15 on the season, the Warriors have a seven-game winning streak and have already faced some of the state’s top basketball teams. Griego’s decision to battle-harden his team included just five home games, and there weren’t any lightweights with teams like Magdalena coming to town.

Senior Warrior Marcus Armijo scored 17 points against Hot Springs.

After looking at where he would be playing in district this year and knowing his final matchups would be on the road, Griego decided the best route was making Socorro a road-warrior team. No matter the environment, the goal was for the Warriors to feel comfortable in all settings.

“I wanted to play the toughest schedule in the state so that when district time came around, we would be ready,” Griego said. “Even when we were on a five-game losing streak, I was telling the guys that they were so close.”

The Warriors’ central woes have been consistency, and it wasn’t unusual to see Socorro follow up a mid-20s quarter with a single-digit.

“We have really come through the last three weeks,” Griego said. “I’m very proud of the kids, and the job isn’t over yet. We still have a district tournament championship to win on Saturday (Feb. 19).”

After a 4-15 regular season start, the Warriors are suddenly the favorites to win the district tournament too.

Over the last three weeks, Socorro has developed team chemistry, leading to court awareness. The Warriors are taking smarter shots and ensuring players are in position for rebounds. Cutting down on turnovers has also been a significant factor.

In their road victory against Hot Springs, Marcus Armijo led the scoring for the Warriors as he ticked off 17 points, including hitting four three-pointers. Warren Chewiwi, Damian Greenwood and William Griego were close to double-digit points with eight each.

Amaro passed out a team-high six assists while Greenwood led the rebounding with seven boards, and Griego grabbed five.


Marcus Armijo 17, Warren Chewiwi 8, Damian Greenwood 8, William Griego 8, Cobe Hardin 4, Alex Amaro 2.