Minatare boys keeping eyes on the prize
     2014-12-18      By Roger Holsinger   
Photo by Roger Holsinger Photography - The Minatare boys basketball team is looking to improve on its 12-8 record from last year with both some new and familiar faces. Back row, from the left, Orin Starke, Chance McAllister, Javier Guerrero, Tyler Koke, Dominic Longoria, Juan Garfio, Teren Barnett and Yovan Perez. Front row, Gilbert Rodriguez, Adam Moreno, Jesus Ramirez, Austin Fisher, Kyler Lane and Alex Benavides. 
MINATARE – Last year the Minatare boys basketball team started off hot going 9-0 before the Christmas break. However, the team cooled down after the break and ended the season with a 12-8 record.
That was not what Head Coach Kyle Cotton wanted.

“We had a couple of injuries (that hurt us) and the competition got tougher, especially in the meat of our schedule,” he said. “We lost some of the momentum that we saw earlier in the season and we didn’t execute as well.”

Cotton said he thinks the team learned a valuable lesson last season and that is that a good team cannot rest and players need to continue to work hard and stay focused on the prize.

That prize – the same for any basketball team – is to qualify for the state basketball tournament. It’s not different for the Indians as Cotton said his team should be the team to beat in the Minuteman Activities Conference. But Cotton said he knows that being the favorite doesn’t mean a team can let down.

“You have to go out and prove it each time you go on to the court,” he said.

New to the MAC this season is Bayard, but Cotton said they would probably only see the Tigers a couple of times and that he is focuses more on Leyton, Potter-Dix, Sioux County and Garden County.
“We will be tested all season, and we will have to practice and work hard every night. And we have had some pretty good practices,” Cotton said.

The winning started off early as the Indians beat the Lions of Morrill during the Hall of Fame Jamboree Dec. 1, 60-41 and then officially opened the season with a big win at South Platte.

Cotton said those contests were good tests and allowed him and assistant coach JJ Ozuna to see where improvements need to be made.
“Like every other team our goal is to make it to state, but I would also like to see us win the MAC and districts. We need to reach our potential and be playing our best at the end of the season.

“Our key this year is consistency; possession to possession, game to game.”

With only one vacancy on the team due to graduation, Minatare reloads with returning letter winners Chance McAllister, Tyler Koke, Dominic Longoria, Yovan Perez, Javier Guerrero and Juan Garfio.
Newcomers and those expected to contribute include freshmen Gilbert Rodriguez and Adam Moreno along with sophomore Jesus Ramirez and junior Teren Barnett.

Underneath the basket Minatare has three solid players including McAllister, Longoria and Koke who know how to use their size at both ends of the court. From the outside Perez, Guerrero and Garfio can light it up from three-point land.

Cotton said he is excited for the season and that as long as the players stay focused and consistent, they should have a good season.
Cotton is in his third season as the head boys basketball coach for Minatare.

Minatare Boys' Basketball Schedule

Dec. 19 7 p.m. v. Arthur Co.
Jan. 10 TBA at Creek Valley
Jan 13 TBA v. Garden County
Jan. 16 TBA v. Morrill
Jan. 17 6:30p.m. at Banner Co.
Jan 20 TBA MAC Conference
Jan. 22 TBA MAC Conference
Jan. 24 TBA MAC Conference
Jan. 30 TBA at Leyton
Jan. 31 TBA v. Potter-Dix
Feb. 3 7 p.m. at Hemingford
Feb. 5 at 6p.m. v. Oelrichs, S.D.
Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. v Sioux Co.
Feb. 13 TBA v. Bayard
Feb. 14 TBA at Hyannis
Feb. 20 TBA at Potter-Dix

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