Troopers tame the Bulldogs

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Junior Chris Nobles throws down a one handed slam dunk during a game against the Socorro Bulldogs.

The Eastwood boys basketball team came into Friday's game against Socorro in third place in district with a 5-3 record and with their sights on reaching a playoff berth. This game came after the Troopers won two straight, defeating El Dorado and Montwood. The Troopers had one goal in mind--to keep their win streak alive. With this goal in mind, the boys played with intensity from the beginning to the end of the game. Led by junior Chris Nobles, the home team handled the visiting Bulldogs easily as they coasted to a 15 point victory by a score of 65-50.

The start of the game did not look promising for Eastwood as they allowed Socorro to score seven unanswered points. Soon, Nobles took over and acted as a catalyst for intense play. The Troopers then answered Socorro by scoring 19 points in the remaining time and not allowing another rival point to be scored. Nobles scored the first four points with tough lay ups, and junior Alan Rubacalva added two points from the free throw line. Nobles again attacked the Bulldog defense with five more points, which included an and-one layup and an emphatic dunk to cap off a fast break. The Troopers gained their first lead with 2:00 minutes left to go in the first quarter, and they did not stop there. Strong defense and a good free throw percentage helped the Troopers to a quick 19-7 lead at the end of one period. Nobles attributed 11 of the 19 points scored in this opening quarter.

The game kept rolling for the Troopers as senior Kevin Guereque hit a three pointer to mark the first points of the second quarter. Nobles soon followed with another dunk. Junior guard Carlos Guillen added two points of his own as he hit a jump shot from the free throw line to increase the lead to 10. With :08 seconds left, junior Luis "Griffin" Gonzales scored on a mid jump shot and the Troopers went into halftime with the lead, 30-22.

The crowd was surely alive and into the game at halftime as cheers of "Let's go Troopers" left the boys with smiling faces. The crowd was quickly quieted as the cheerleaders performed a routine to their own mix and was immediately followed by cheers from the home crowd. The Troopers came out with a burning intensity in their eyes as an eight point lead did not satisfy the streaking Troopers.

The third quarter opened up with four quick Trooper points as junior James Williams connected on a pair of free throws, and Nobles added another two points to a winning night. After a turnover on their following possession, the Troopers scored with a pass assist to Williams by Heber Ovalles while he drove the lane. Socorro went on to score on their next possession and then fouled senior Adan Vasquez as he went up for a lay-up. He went on to make both of the free throws and increased their lead to 38-28. Eastwood went to score 9 more points to finish out the third quarter with the lead 47-36.

The final quarter was in full control of the Troopers as they went on to score 18 points and only allow 14 to Socorro, outscoring them once again. Highlighted by many offensive rebounds and put backs the Troopers were able to easily defeat Socorro in front of their home fans. Nobles led all scorers with 15 points and gave the Troopers the much needed energy to blow out the visiting Socorro Bulldogs. Strong defense and aggressiveness on the boards led to the Eastwood victory by a final score of 65-50.

Now standing at 6-3 in district, the Troopers have sole possession of third place in the standings and are set to take on the Franklin Cougars at on Tuesday. A win against the Cougars would clinch a playoff berth for the Troopers, the first in three years.