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McClave High School boys basketball looking to recover from winless season

Ken Hamrick
LA Junta Tribune
The McClave High School boys basketball team. From left, Lucas Ward, Kolten Smartt, Blake Elam, Aydin Gomez, Aiden Martinez, Ray Mungaray, Karson Roesch, Conner Forgue, Caleb Barr, Braden Marks, Conner Stines, Cooper Elam, Joel Enciso and Kasen Malone.

It was a rough season for the McClave High School boys basketball team in 2019-20.

The Cardinals, with only two seniors on the team, went winless in 20 games. However, almost the entire team returns for this season.

"We have a very young team once again this year, but we have a ton of experience coming back from last year," said McClave coach Jeremy Mallard. "Our sophomore class and Joel Enciso carried the load for us last year and will be expected to do the same this year. These kids have put in a lot of time on their own and have gotten a lot better from a year ago. Last year was rough on all of us, but I feel like we can compete with anyone this year."

The Cardinals return four starters including senior Joel Enciso, sophomore Aiden Martinez, sophomore Aydin Gomez and sophomore Caleb Barr. Also expected to contribute are sophomore Kolten Smartt, freshman Conner Forgue, freshman Ray Mungaray, and sophomore Braden Marks.

The Cardinals, however, lost Aldon Sniff and Mavrick Leighty.

"We had some size come in with the freshman class," Mallard said. "Ray Mungaray is a 6-1 wing who can help, and Conner Forgue is 6-3 and has the potential to make a big impact right away. We will be led by Aiden Martinez and Aydin Gomez. Those two are very talented kids. I'd take those two against anybody. I love coaching them, they are both extremely humble and lead by example on and off the floor.

"Our future is bright," Mallard continued. "We have a long way to go, but these kids are up for the challenge. I'm excited to see how the year plays out."

2020-21 McClave High School boys basketball schedule

Date; Opponent; Time

Jan. 28; At Manzanola; 70-43 W

Jan. 29; STRATTON/LIBERTY; 61-44 W

Feb. 6; ROCKY FORD; 31-46 L

Feb. 9; At Wiley; 3 p.m.

Feb. 12; EADS*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 13; HI-PLAINS/FLAGLER; 3 p.m.

Feb. 16; At Granada*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 18; At La Veta; 4 p.n.

Feb. 19; CHEYENNE WELLS; 4 p.m.

Feb. 25; SPRINGFIELD; 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 26; At Cheraw*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 27; At Kim/Branson+; 1 p.m.

March 4; SOUTH BACA; 4 p.m.

March 5; At Kit Carson*; 4 p.m.

Home games in CAPITAL LETTERS at Cardinal Gym

+ At Kim

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com