Early in the Hoehne High School boys basketball season, the Farmers lived in the twilight zone of no identity for either offensive or defensive oriented hoops squads. With the Farmers not being the most athletic, or tallest, or most experienced in league basketball, Coach Cliff Santistevan needed early a team that knows what it is.

Though winning along the highly competitive early winter sports season, playing well at the 82nd TSJC Invitational Basketball Tournament and winning their home opener, consistent play remained inconsistent while the Farmers on court continued to pursue play either outside team capabilities or not within the same.

On Dec. 21, the Farmer boys basketball team may have found common identity.

Farmer student-athletes No. 4 Nic Navarette, No. 24 Trystan Moltrer, No. 34 Cameron Thornton and No. 44 Federico Orozco aka the “Cuatro Conquistadores” have turned a faceless Hoehne boys basketball team looking for focus into a team progressing toward a top notch, highly aggressive and shut down determined transitional defense that fades any height related heat with wide based bodies boxing out on oppressive, no “O” defensive runs. Enhanced with a sticky sweet defensive pursuit outside the painted key that cuts off passing lanes and forces unforced errors.

The “Cuatro Conquistadores” did not merely own downtown Las Animas on defense with smart, fluid transitions from one-on-one to zones, offensive opportunity arrived in volume.

Farmer student-athlete sophomore No. 4 Navarette relieved the need for his compadres to dominate offensive rebounds by burying with prejudice two three point shots on his way to scoring 22 points.  No. 44 Orozco also scored 22 points, enjoying playing a little body music with late game and smoked out the Las Animas Trojan defenders underneath. No. 34 Thornton air mailed three deep ones for nine points on his way to a game 16 while No. 24 Moltrer arrived in usual form with a strong, defense-oriented 8 points.

May sound like a stout Farmer offense played a unprepared or over matched Trojan hoops squad on the first cold night of the winter sports season last Thursday.  Do not be mistaken. Las Animas pursued the entire game. All of these offensive achievements were a direct result of a far more disciplined and committed defense still in progress to excellence.

Opportunity to dominate a competitive Las Animas basketball team arrived via an early Christmas gift wrapped box called “Big D” in the form of steals, blocked shots, oppressive, dominating collapsing zones with heads up communication all around and just plain patience at times that allowed the Trojans to make a mistake. At which time, the “Cuatro Conquistadores” would take advantage left aside pulling rebounds and sharing assist wealth with fellow Farmers while enjoying good Farmer basketball play.

HHS Farmer boys basketball student-athletes dominate Las Animas 77-65.

Next HHS varsity basketball games are away at Crowley County, January 12 at 4 p.m.

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