Somehow it doesn’t ring of a bitter, long-standing rivalry like many others in the state.
But seeing Socorro on the other side of the scorer’s table certainly means something to Taos coach Daniel Trujillo. Back in 1998, Trujillo was a senior for the Taos Tigers and it was Socorro that denied him and his teammates the Class 3A state championship in The Pit in Albuquerque.
So when Taos was set to play Socorro in the semifinals of the Hope Christian boys tournament in Albuquerque, Trujillo did his best to remind the current set of Tigers what — at least historically — it means to his school.
“We definitely mentioned 1998 to our guys in the locker room,” said Trujillo before Taos beat Socorro 58-53 on Friday. “But 1998, to these guys, is like 1970 to me.
“They’re kind of clueless about it, but it’s like yesterday to me — how demoralizing it was for us that year, because it was the only time Taos had made it to the championship game,” Trujillo added.
Although not as much was at stake at the Hope tournament, a berth opposite the powerful host Huskies in the finals being the primary benefit, Trujillo was certainly happy his Tigers came from behind in the final quarter for the win.
The game was tied 29-29 at the half and Socorro led 40-36 going into the fourth period. But, led by Max Suazo’s 24 points, Taos ran its record to 11-4 on the season by passing the Warriors in the final stanza.
In the nightcap of Friday’s action, Hope Christian powered past West Las Vegas to move into the championship game.
At another tournament in Aztec, a girls six-team event called the “Rumble in the Jungle” by organizers, Santa Fe Indian School and Española Valley moved into the title game.
Española Valley squeaked out a one-point win over Artesia, a team that S.F. Indian had beaten the day before, as the Sundevils pushed their record to 17-1 on the season.
As for Santa Fe Indian (11-3), the Lady Braves got 16 points from Bridget Lee, 12 from Mystri Jodie and eight from freshman Victoria Lovato in a 69-28 rout of Crownpoint.
“I substituted two minutes into the game. It was one of those games where we pretty much did whatever we wanted to do,” S.F. Indian coach Cindy Roybal said. “Every once in a while you need a game like that so everyone feels like part of the team.”