2017-18 Peñasco boys basketball pre-season preview

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Peñasco Panthers Boys’ Basketball at a glance

Colors: Blue, gold, white

Coach: Brandon Gurulé (1st season)

2016 overall record: 7-19

District 5-2A record: 3-5

District 5-2A teams: Escalante Lobos, Mesa Vista Trojans, Mora Rangers, Peñasco Panthers, Questa Wildcats.

Key players

Matt Lopez, senior. Individually, Lopez has the tools to be a consistent point producer and rebounder for the Panthers. Combining strength and speed, the senior guard provides Peñasco with ball-handling skills and variable shot ranges on offense. Look for Lopez to lead many offensive stats in class 2A during the 2017-18 season.

Ernesto Lopez, senior. As one of the few Panther big men, Lopez will need to handle duties in the low post – including clean up on the boards – and run the floor with the contingent of Peñasco players. Lopez is capable of playing with his back to the basket or squaring up to shoot the five- to eight-foot jumper. Lopez’ strongest quality is his unselfishness and willingness to serve others – a trait Gurulé will find valuable as he works to implement his program at Peñasco High School.

Peñasco Panthers current roster:

Ernesto Lopez, senior; Billy Rodarté, senior; Matt Lopez, senior; Giovanni Rodarté, senior; Juaquine Fernández, junior; Danny Esquibel, sophomore; Dominic Lopez, sophomore; Jude Encinias, freshman; Donovan Mascareñas, freshman; Elijah Lucero, eighth-grader.

2017 Outlook:

The Panthers lost three seniors to graduation from last season, and currently have four on the roster this year. Leading the Panthers on the front-line is strong forward 6-foot, 2-inch senior, Ernesto Lopez who traveled to Australia this past summer to participate in the “Down Under Games,” which gave him valuable experience against a wide variety of international talent.

The same issues that plagued the Panthers in 2015, also affected several games last year. Scoring troubles hampered the Panthers throughout the 2016 and will need to be rectified. In the district season alone, Peñasco averaged just over 51 points per game, while their opponents averaged 67 points per game.

Key factors to the Panther’s success will be the ability to score from the perimeter (in order to spread the opponent’s defense), a viable full-court press defense and staying out of foul trouble. Another factor to consider is the fact that every team (except Escalante) in District 5-2A has a new coach, so league opponents may experience the same growing pains and may be undergoing a rebuilding season.

2017 Panthers basketball schedule

Bold - denotes home meet.

* - denotes district 5-2A game

(All home games to take place at Jicarita Peñasco Gymnasium)

Nov. 25, at Cimarron, 7 p.m.

Nov. 27, Clayton, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, at SF Indian School Tourney, T.B.A.

Dec. 9, Coronado (Gallina), 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 11, Cimarron, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 14-16, at Ben Luján Invite (Pojoaque Valley H.S.), T.B.A.

Dec. 19, at Raton, 6 p.m.

Dec. 22, at Tucumcari, 8:30 p.m.

Jan. 2, at Robertson (Las Vegas), 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 4-6, at NRG Tournament (Pojoaque Valley H.S), T.B.A.

Jan. 16, Ratón, 6 p.m.

Jan. 18, Mora, 6:30 p.m.*

Jan. 23, at McCurdy (Española), 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25, at Escalante (Tierra Amarilla), 8:30 p.m.*

Jan. 27, Mesa Vista (Ojo Caliente), 5:30 p.m.* (Homecoming)

Feb. 1, at Questa, 8 p.m.*

Feb. 3, at Mora, 5 p.m.*

Feb. 10, Escalante (Tierra Amarilla), 5:30 p.m.*

Feb. 14, at Mesa Vista (Ojo Caliente), 7:30 p.m.*

Feb. 17, Questa, 5:30 p.m.*

Schedule game dates, times, opponents and locations are subject to changes, updates, postponements, delays and cancellations.

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