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Mora County Notebook - Basketball is a year-round sport for Mora

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By Ruth Fort

Yes, basketball season is over as far as the high school schedule is concerned, but it is still there. They have the Amanda Serna Memorial Basketball Camp coming up during the summer months. Some of the Mora athletes are going to the big North/South competition. NBA is still showing on television. Mora students have been busy with baseball, softball and track now,  but basketball has always been and will always be the king of sports in the Mora Valley.

Many homes have a basketball hoop of some kind in their yard so that the youth can practice shooting for baskets or playing a game with their siblings and friends.

The history of basketball in Mora Valley is long and interesting as it is in the beginning when it was invented.

In an old high school newspaper “El Moreno” that Manuel Alcon has shared, dated January 1944, the first article is about basketball. It says “Basketball Season Begins for M.H.S. Mavericks.” Adding, Coach (Flavio) Vigil  is looking for more players but the line up at that time was: right guard and team captain, Luis Silva, left guard, Narciso Fuentes, center, Ruben Borrego, right guard, Orselio Medina, and left guard, Manuel Alcon.

Their first game was to be played against the Colts at the I.C. School in Las Vegas on Jan. 28. The article says, “The squad does fully know the strength of the opponents and consequently, hard work is the slogan.” They practiced whereever they could find a place. They used to play on the second floor of the old abandoned courthouse and when the ball flew out the broken windows they had to run outside to retrieve it to continue playing. Basketball was played where and whenever there was an opportunity.

Many people who are or have been playing for Mora High School probably find relatives in that early team or know people who are related. Coach Vigil has sons who were coaches and players in championship games and the grandchildren also being star players.

Manuel Alcon’s daughter and granddaughters are part of this group. The granddaughters follow in their mother’s footsteps. The school is still getting the benefit of Manuel’s daughter, Jeannie Abeyta as she uses her inborn skill and work ethic to coach and teach. I’m sure there are others out there that we could say the same for if we knew who they are.

There were several grade schools in the valley as each community had its schools. Basketball was a favorite sport back then also. The teachers and coaches would get together and make a schedule for games. The Agua Negra Presbyterian Day School Mission in Holman and Chacon Mission were also a part of that group.

In Holman there was a gym that was built by the community and mission teachers for community activities and programs, so it was the place for all to practice when they could. However, most of the schools had outdoor basketball courts and still did a good job of playing in spite of the inconvenience.

Manuel Alcon, who was in the early high school team in 1944, was one of the coaches/teacher. After he came home from the Army and got his education he began teaching for the Mora schools. So in 1952 he was a coach for the Holman Pubic School.

During the March Tournament time the schools all converged on the Holman Mission gym to play one another for two days. Later more schools had gyms for the public schools. And consolidation came in and everyone was eventually bused to Mora.

Other times the gym at Holman Mission was used for school programs, dinners, roller skating and basketball, of course, and community gatherings.

It would be good to hear the stories about basketball in the past from other participants and relatives or photos would be interesting.

Ruth Fort is a Mora County correspondent. She may be reached at (575) 387-6523 or ruthfortchacon@yahoo.com.