Submitted to the Optic
This season’s version of the Mora Rangers has been a pleasant surprise. Amid player transfers, youth, and one of the toughest schedules in Class 2A, the Rangers finished the season with an overall mark of 11-15.
More importantly Mora secured a hold of second place in District 2-2A with a 5-3 record although they lost a 74-67 nailbiter to the Peñasco Panthers on Feb. 20. Despite the defeat, Mora is the second seed for the upcoming district tournament which begins Tuesday at Joseph Montoya Gymnasium.
Because the Rangers defeated Peñasco 86-72 on Feb. 8, they secured second place because their 14-point margin of victory supersedes the seven-point margin of victory by Peñasco in the event of a tie in the district.
Coach James Branch has high praise for his young gunslingers because “they have maintained a positive attitude, work ethic and executed down the stretch during the District 2-2A wars,” he said. With only two seniors on the roster, the lineup is otherwise comprised of sophomores and freshmen, which makes their district run particularly notable.
Leading the charge are sophomore Casimiro Fresquez and senior Jeremiah Olivas, who have scored in double digits, averaging 17 and 14 points per contest, respectively. However the strength in this year’s team is the overall play and contributions of Jerome Alcon, Miguel Olivas, Emmerick Martinez, Travis Romero, Ferdinand Valencia and Santiago Laumbach. Branch said he is proud of their accomplishment and feels they have a legitimate shot of making the 16-team state tournament. He said he expects his team to leave everything on the floor and make a run in the district tournament.