Cobe Hardin used timing and a great vertical leap to snag a rebound against Hot Springs.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro dialed in from long-range with a 22-10 third quarter that catapulted the Warriors to a 73-69 win on Feb. 7 over Hot Springs and followed that up with an 81-38 domination of Hatch Valley on Feb. 9.

Suddenly Socorro is on a five-game winning streak and is miles away from their 4-10 start, where many people didn’t give them a chance when league play started.

High school basketball insiders knew that Socorro had faced a brutal preseason schedule. Still, nobody seemed willing to bet Socorro was going to be 4-0 in District 3-3A boys basketball and is now the favorite to win the league crown.

To win a championship, Socorro needs to win one of its next two games against either Hot Springs (Feb. 14) or Cobre (Feb. 16).

“We have to win Tuesday (Valentine’s Day after the EDC press deadline). We win Tuesday, and the district title is ours,” Socorro coach J.J. Griego said. “So, we need to be prepared, and we can’t go in expecting to win. We should expect things to be harder going on the road. Hot Springs, as we saw the other night has a good squad, and they will be ready for us at home.”

The Warriors pressed differently on defense than they did earlier in the year, and the transition in their offense kept them outside of the arc, where long-range shooting made up the difference of a 44-35 halftime deficit.

In the second half, Warren Chewiwi led the way with four long-distance bombs, Alex Amaro had two and Marcus Armijo added another. The Warriors got three-pointers from Cobe Hardin, Fernando Torres, Andrew Handrich and Armijo in the first half.

Socorro made the most of its trips to the free-throw line as the Warriors went 15-of-20.

The emotional win was followed up by Senior Night on Feb. 9, but the Warrior remained focused despite the activities surrounding their last regular-season home game.

After establishing a comfortable 25-8 first-quarter lead, Socorro turned to putting on a three-point clinic to Hatch Valley as Warren Chewiwi nailed seven of the Warriors’ 15 shots from behind the arc.

There was a little showmanship at times, and it also allowed Griego some reflection on his graduating seniors. Warren Chewiwi, Jacob Gonzales, Cobe Hardin, Damian Greenwood and Marcus Armijo will be lost to graduation.

“We have such good kids. You know, there are so many things that go on in the world that are bad and negative,” Griego said. “To watch these kids come out, knowing that you played hard and remembering this moment forever and seeing their parents and how proud they are. It’s an incredible feeling as a coach just to know I had any part of their lives growing up and, you know, going from boys to men.”

Scoring against Hot Springs—Warren Chewiwi 21, Cobe Hardin 10, Fernando Torres 4, Alex Amaro 8, Andrew Handrich 5, William Griego 6, Marcus Armijo 13, Damien Greenwood 6.

Scoring against Hatch—Warren Chewiwi 24, Cobe Hardin 9, Alex Amaro 4, Jason Padilla 4, Andrew Handrich 2, William Griego 13, Marcus Armijo 15, Damien Greenwood 9.