Santini Aguilar dribbles the ball past an opponent from the Gregory School. Photo by Chesed Chap

The Patagonia varsity basketball team ended their season on Feb 15 with a 53 – 45 loss at the 1A Conference Tournament in Prescott. The Lobos, who were ranked 9th in their division lost to No. 8 ranked Mogollon. The Lobos finished the season with a 16–10 record, finishing 9th in their conference.

Coach Kenny Hayes feels that this was the most successful team he has coached. “We beat teams that we’ve never beaten before. We had more wins than ever before since I’ve been here,” he said. “The kids have worked very hard on defense They listen well. I’ve never had a team work so hard. I’ve had individuals work hard, but never a whole team.” 

Seniors Victor Barajas and Isaiah Ruiz were co-captains of the team. Barajas finished in the top five in the country in rebounds. He was ranked #1 in rebounds for the state, was #25 in the state for scoring and #5 in division 1A for scoring. He was close to the top ten in the state overall, according to Hayes. 

Hayes praised the other members of the team, as well. “Isaiah is the best defensive player in the conference,” Hayes said. “John Hubbell really improved his scoring. He can play any position. Julian Vasquez worked really hard in the post. Lalo Aguilar, he’s very good at driving to the basket. Santini Aguilar played great defense. Damien Castro is a talented player and Ralphie Quiroz worked very hard and improved a whole lot since he was a freshman.” 

Hayes coached a squad of 11 players, who played both JV and varsity. “Everybody played JV except for Victor Barajas and John Hubbell,” he said. “Most kids played on both teams. “The only way for kids to get better is playing time, game experience,” he said. There was one freshman and two sophomores in the top six players.