RUIDOSO—Ruidoso looked to keep Socorro scorer Warren Chewiwi in check. The plan backfired as the senior hit 11-of-12 free-throw attempts to lead the Warriors to a 52-43 win on Jan. 27.

It was the kind of win the Warriors needed as they prepare to open District 3-3A play after a rough 5-15 regular-season campaign where Socorro has been on the road for more than 70 percent of its games.

“If we take care of the ball, we can be in every game,” Coach J.J. Griego said. “I think this game is going to help our confidence quite a bit. I keep telling them, it’s right there.”

Socorro’s Warren Chewiwi took a beating under the bucket and made Ruidoso pay for it.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

It was right there against Ruidoso as the Warriors used a 14-6 second-quarter run to establish a 24-17 lead at halftime and then had to overcome a bit of physiological “warfare” by a Ruidoso fan who managed to get Warriors a little off track.

While warming up, a student began heckling Socorro players and then walked onto the court, where he sparked enough attention a coach had to step in to prevent a possible scuffle. What had been light-hearted bantering in the first half looked like it might become a distraction, but Griego wasn’t having it from his team.

“I told them that they just needed to forget about it, because we have a tendency to let that stuff get to us,” Griego said. “Tonight, we didn’t do that, so that was a very positive thing.”

When you are playing a schedule some basketball fans are calling more grueling than the University of New Mexico’s by comparison, it’s understandable when feathers get a little ruffled now and then because you find yourself on the wrong end of the score.

Rather than lashing out, the Warriors internalized their frustrations and weathered through a rough third quarter and maintained a 35-29 lead heading into the final frame.

Ruidoso was forced to focus on fouling, and it seemed Chewiwi had possession of the basketball every time a whistle was blown. His 9-of-10 shooting at the line in the fourth quarter accounted for more than half of the Warriors’ 17 points down the stretch.

The Warriors needed a complete game, and Griego went to his bench early to see what combinations would work, and Cobe Hardin’s three-pointer showed Socorro had firepower. William Griego, Marcus Armijo and Damian Greenwood also contributed to the Warriors’ points.

Alex Amaro netted six second-quarter points, while Chewiwi and Fernando Torrez also got involved in the scoring and, most importantly, avoided turning over the ball.

Logistics caused schedule changes, and Socorro will be bussing its boys and girls teams together for district games. The changes mean the Warriors host the first of three straight district home games on Feb. 2 against Cobre before facing Hot Springs on Feb. 7 and Hatch Valley on Feb. 9.

On paper, the Warriors are heading into league play in fourth place, but only Hot Springs at 12-7 has a record above .500.

“It will be about putting four quarters of basketball together each game and limiting our turnover. We need to take care of the basketball, and we will be all right,” Griego said.


Warren Chewiwi 16 11-12 FT, Cobe Hardin 5, Alex Amaro 9, Fernando Torrez 2, William Griego 8, Marcus Armijo 11, Damian Greenwood 2.