The Tigers have four returning starters in Zach Archuleta, Matthew Espinoza, Jon Nuschy and Dyson Oquist, all of whom are just coming out this week following the conclusion of football season.



By Ken Hamrick

@KenHamrick1

Last year, the La Junta High School boys' basketball team had an outstanding season. The Tigers won 16 games and lost eight and they finished in fourth place in the very strong Tri-Peaks League.

"We lose one kid who was a really good part of our team in Marcos Alatorre," said LJ coach Greg Lovato. "We have some other kids who are going to have to step up this year and hopefully we can be in the top four this year."

The Tigers have four returning starters in Zach Archuleta, Matthew Espinoza, Jon Nuschy and Dyson Oquist, all of whom are just coming out this week following the conclusion of football season.

"We have four starters coming back and we're looking for the fifth one," Lovato said. "We did have a couple of kids who were hurt last year. Kaden Ramirez was hurt last year and hopefully, he'll come back and help us. We have some younger guys who have developed over the summer that look like they can participate and help us out."

"Everybody is working hard and trying to remember the plays," Lovato added. "We have a lot of freshmen woh are pushing the other kids to get better."

The Tri-Peaks League will be tough again this year as usual.

"Two of the top 10 scorers are in our league," Lovato said. "The highest 3-point shooter is in our league. So we have our work cut out for us. We're pretty small compared to the other teams, but hopefully, our defense and quickness will be able to make up for that."

La Junta will start with a couple of tough tournaments as it will play in the Trinidad State Inivtational this week and it will host the La Junta Holiday Shootout next week.

"Primero has a really good player on their team," Lovato said. "I don't know much about Hoehne right now. Manitou Springs is also in that tournament. Then in our holiday tournament, we have three of the Top 10 teams in Class 2A. Centauri is still in there with the boys and we have a really hard tournament coming up."

The goal for the season is to keep getting better.

"Our goals are to do the best we can and get better and wind up how we did last year," Lovato said. "Hopefully, we'll make it further than we did last year."