Small school bound for state championship

MAGDALENA, basketball, new mexico basketball, state basketball,

MAGDALENA, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s like something out of the movie “Hoosiers.” This tiny New Mexico town is going nuts because their basketball team has made a run to its first ever state championship game, and Magdalena is headed to the Pit.

“We put signs on the post office door, and we put signs at the bank door and at the Family Dollar,” said Amy Stephens, parent of senior varsity player Barak Stephens.

“He’s very excited. They’re ready for this game. And they just are excited to play in the championship game this year,” she said.

High school hoops is the talk of Magdalena. The Magdalena boys basketball team is undefeated, and the Steers are headed to WisePies Arena for the state 2-A finals to face Logan.

“We want them to see that the town is behind them,” Stephens said.

Word spread among villagers on Friday to show up at the school to give the team a proper sendoff.

“We are a small school, and when we’re going to something big like that, that’s pretty good,” said Linda Mansell, owner of M&M Grill.

This athletic achievement is a first.

Jory Mirabal, head boys varsity basketball coach and athletic director, said, “We’ve never won a state title in boys basketball here. They haven’t even been to a state title in boys basketball, so it’s a pretty big deal.”

“These boys have put in a bunch of hours, lots of work getting to this point, and this is kind of the reward of years and years for hard work,” he said.

“That’s what it means to be as a coach, is to see that process, that journey, to get to this point, so one more game and hopefully we’ll get it,” Mirabal added.

“This is what every senior dreams of, right here, to go to the Pit and win it,” said Tyler Julian, a senior starter.

Dre Montoya, a starter for Magdalena said, “We finally met our goal. We got to the Pit where we want to be. We’ve been dreaming about this since we were little kids.”

Cleo Mow showed up to send the players off as their bus departed for Albuquerque. “This is making history in Magdalenda for our Steers,” she said.

Emergency vehicles escorted the bus from the campus as crowds cheered on the maroon and white.

The game against Logan is at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Pit. Logan has won two titles with their latest just three years ago. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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