Tucumcari boys coach pinning hopes on speed


November 28, 2018

Speed kills.

That's what Tucumcari boys basketball coach John Span hopes for this season from his undersized team.

"We have no size, but we do have some quickness," he said. "I think we will be able to get up and down the floor. I think a big key for us to be successful is to limit teams to one shot, then we can get down the floor in transition. We like an up-tempo game. We'll do a little bit of pressing. We like to transition back after missed shots and push the ball up and down the court.

"I think this team will be fun to watch," Span added. "They're' going to play hard. Hopefully we'll have a product out there that folks will enjoy and want to come back out and watch."

The Rattlers, who finished 10-18 overall last season and 1-7 in district play, return just two starters: Josh Chavez and Robbie Hartmann.

As a result, Span, who is entering his 15th season leading the Rattlers, expects inexperienced or young players to fill out the varsity roster.

"We're going to have to have kids who step up and fill those spots," he said. "I see some potential with the guys we have."

Span also expects decent depth with his squad. He anticipates using seven to nine players during games.

Tucumcari's first game is at home Friday in the Snake Pit against Laguna Acoma. The night's slate includes junior-varsity and girls games. The slate of games begin at 4 p.m., with the varsity boys expected to tip off about 7:30 p.m.

District play begins in early February with games against Tularosa, New Mexico Military Institute and Dexter.

Span said he expects tough games against Dexter, which is laden with seniors and quickness. He said Tularosa typically is "scrappy" and well-coached. He didn't have much information about NMMI, a newcomer in the revamped district.

Regardless of foe, Span foresees what's needed for success when the district schedule begins.

"I think it's going to be a matter of who shows up to play each night and who does a good job taking care of the ball and making good shots," he said.

Grady-San Jon-House

Grady high-school boys basketball enters its first season in a cooperative agreement with San Jon and House schools.

Eight athletes from San Jon and one from House have joined a Bronchos squad that has 13 players returning. Grady finished 17-13 overall last season; San Jon was 4-17. House hadn't fielded a team for years.

Grady coach Jonathan Langan, in his second season, likes what he sees so far, even with the adjustment of players from San Jon and House meshing into the program.

"We've practiced with real energy, and I'm getting pretty excited for the season," he said.

The Bronchos' first game is at Grady on Saturday against Elida. The varsity tip-off should be about 7:30 p.m.

All varsity home games will be at Grady, except for a Jan. 17 game against Roy/Mosquero at San Jon.

Langan said his top returning player is guard Chisum Rush, who averaged 20 points and five rebounds per game last season.

Langan said district play will prove difficult for the Bronchos. It includes defending Class A champion Melrose, defending Class 2A champion Fort Sumner, Logan and Clovis Christian.


Kyle Griffiths enters his second year with the Logan program after the Longhorns finished 14-12 last season.

He said his top two returning starters are guard/forward Kyle Knight and point guard Dante Sanchez.

Griffiths also expects a lot of playing time for center Chase Earle and guard Dyson Day, a transfer from Dalhart, Texas.

"We'll have a lot of speed, and we have good athletes," Griffiths said. "We don't have a lot of size. We'll have to run a lot, get into transition and score a lot of easy baskets."

Griffiths said he uses a man-to-man defense with some full-court pressing because his ample team speed is well-made for the latter.

The Longhorns face a tough district schedule with Class 1A champion Melrose, Class 2A champion Fort Sumner, a Grady team fortified by a new cooperative agreement with San Jon and House, and Clovis Christian.

Logan's first game is Friday at Clayton, but its first home-court matchup won't be until Dec. 20 against Maxwell.


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