Otero Men's Basketball starts season 3-1
November 11, 2013
Coming off back to back Region IX Championship game appearances, the 2013-2014 campaign brings high expectations for the Otero Men’s Basketball team. After a 12-hour road trip that included a practice at Wichita State, the Rattlers opened the season at Missouri-West Plains on November 1.
The game was tightly officiated with 62 fouls called and 94 free throws shot between the two teams. Otero battled but lost 94-93. Sophomores Chris Golden and Jalen Little led the Rattlers with 31 and 28 points respectively.
The following day, Otero bounced back with a 96-73 victory over North Iowa Area Community College. Freshman Lamine Mbodj paced the Rattlers with 17 points while Little dropped 15 assists in the win.
After getting a split on the road to open the season, Otero returned home for the 2013 Hampton Inn Classic. It was a classic Friday night at “The Pit” as the Rattlers defeated #12-ranked New Mexico Junior College 66-63 on Golden’s 3-point shot as time expired. The game was closely contested with numerous lead changes. Led by Golden’s 18 points and Nick Ongarato’s 10 points, the Rattlers got a huge home win.
On Saturday, Otero dispatched Fort Carson with a 99-71 victory. Every player contributed for the Rattlers as Golden scored 26 points and freshman Shun Williams filled up the stat sheet with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
The Rattlers are now 3-1 on the young season and will play at Garden City on November 12th. OJC Men’s Basketball will play their next home game on November 19 at 7 p.m. versus Garden City Community College.
OJC Men's Soccer team wins NJCAA Region IX Championship
October 31, 2013
The Otero Junior College men's soccer team became the NJCAA Region IX champions for the second time in four years this past weekend. The Rattlers won the title after beating Western Wyoming Community College (5-2), Trinidad State Junior College (2-1) and Laramie County (Wyo.) Community College (2-1) during the Region IX tournament at Tiger Stadium in La Junta. The Rattlers will now move on to the West District tournament which will be held Nov. 8 - 9 in Arizona.
Lady Rattler Soccer finishes the regular season strong
October 24, 2013
LA JUNTA — The Otero Junior College Women’s Soccer team finished their regular season strong at Tiger stadium last Saturday with a 4-0 win against Western Nebraska. In addition to being the last regular season game, Saturday’s game served as the Lady Rattlers’ sophomore appreciation day.
The Lady Rattlers dominated their opponent and held possession of the ball for the majority of the game, allowing only one shot on goal. The sophomores shone, with Keenan Moreta, Baylee Lindsley and Brittney Lacek scoring a goal each.
At the end of the regular season, the Lady Rattlers boast a winning record of 11-3-1 overall and 9-2-1 in Region IX. A regular season highlight came with a win against conference rivals and # 4 seed Laramie County Community College at home on Oct. 4.
With the completion of the regular season, the Lady Rattlers will travel to Cheyenne, Wyo. to compete in the Region IX Tournament on November 1st. Their record in the region during the regular season earned them a #2 seed and an automatic pass to the semi-finals.
The Region IX semi-final game will be held at 2:00 p.m. on November 1. The Lady Rattlers will face off against North Idaho. With a win in the semis, the ladies would go through to the final on Saturday, November 2 at 2:00 p.m.
The winner of the Region IX tournament will receive an automatic spot in the national tournament, which will be held November 18-23 in Melbourne, Fla.
Otero Junior College Women's Basketball season outlook
October 24, 2013
LA JUNTA — The 2013-2014 Otero Junior College Women’s Basketball team will showcase more athleticism than has been seen in recent years. Otero has assembled a team that will be anchored by six returners from last season: point guard Stephanie Rey, sharpshooter Savannah Bewley, and the full post rotation of Brittany Gutierrez, Chelby Santiago, Kadijah Borom, and All-Region athlete Danica Shipley. After having limited playing time last year Bewley, Rey, and Borom have all come in stronger, faster and more skilled with the ball as they look to make an immediate impact during their sophomore seasons.
Although the team lost three starters from last year’s squad as well as a number of reserves, the incoming athletes will greatly compliment the returning core. The trio of Colorado All-State guards Bailey Haist of Colorado Springs; Chelsea Velsaquez of Trinidad; and Haley Martinez of Las Animas experienced high levels of play as all three led their teams to league or district championships and state tournament berths during their high school careers.
The trio will be accompanied by two international athletes, Celia Garcia-Paunera of Spain and 6’0” Fanni Horvath of Hungary. Both of these athletes played at the highest levels of amateur basketball in their respective countries.
Also joining the Rattlers will be Northeastern Junior College transfer guard Elika Posey, a Colorado native who prepped at 4A Fountain Fort-Carson, and Mikayla Irvin of Denver East who redshirted for the Rattlers last season.
“This group has already shown great team chemistry and a high level of intensity in practice, which for many teams, are two elusive traits,” said Kyle Spencer, head coach of the Lady Rattler Basketball team. “While we have a strong returning core we will rely heavily on our incoming athletes to impact our play right away.”
Spencer has high hopes for the Lady Rattlers this season. “The level of athleticism we have is going to give us the opportunity to be in every game we play this season,” said Spencer. “If we can get each player to fill their role at the highest level we’ll be in the position we want to be in come March.”
OJC Men's Basketball season outlook
October 24, 2013
LA JUNTA — The Otero Junior College Men’s Basketball team is entering the 2013-14 season coming off of back-to-back NJCAA Region IX championship game appearances with a lot of new faces. The Rattlers’ appearances in the last two regional championship games were the first and second in program history.
The Rattlers will return one player that played a significant number of minutes last year and have added a few transfers to give the team some experience. The Rattlers will rely on returning players and true freshmen to help keep them at a championship level.
“This group reminds me of the team that won it when they were freshmen. We have pieces, but it’s going to be a process to get those pieces in the right places. We want to remain focused on getting better every day, fulfilling our roles, building our culture, forming our identity, and developing a solid foundation for a team-first attitude,” eighth year head coach Houston Reed commented.
Returning sophomore Chris Golden broke into the starting line-up last year, was All-Region and made the Region IX all-tournament team in his freshmen year. He is the only player with that type of experience in the program. Nick Ongarato and Derek Hillyer saw limited time last year, but are expected to have more of an impact in their sophomore campaigns. James Healy from Cibola High School in Albuquerque, N.M. will enter the roster this season after a red-shirt year.
“These guys have a lot on their plate and high expectations to fulfill. We are happy with their progress and are confident they will be ready for the challenge,” Reed stated.
The Rattlers added three transfers to add experience to their roster. Point guard Jalen Little, originally from Colorado Springs, transferred from University of Anchorage Alaska where he led the Seawolves in assists as a freshman. Sammie Elem is an athletic forward transferring from Wilbur Wright Community College out of Chicago, Ill., joining the Rattlers at mid-season last year. Jamaal Walker is a guard originally from the Bahamas and is a division one transfer from Western Illinois University.
“As transfers we expect these guys to have an impact immediately,” Reed added.
There are six incoming freshmen this year. Kain Lucero was 3A player of the year and won a state championship at Pagosa Springs High School. Post player Lamine Mbodj, originally from Senegal, prepped in Fla. where he was recognized as a top player in the state. Shun Williams is a big-bodied forward who was two–time conference player of the year from Central High School in Mo. Branden Cosby-Lee and Sam Stoveall come from two great Colo. programs in Grandview and Cherry Creek high schools. Renato Torres comes from El Paso, Texas and played with the Latino Select AAU program which has generated many high level players. Drew Matsushima, from Valley High School in Colo., gives the roster added depth after a red-shirt season.
“We feel this group embodies the foundation of the program and are great fits here at Otero,” said Reed.
“Region IX will be as competitive as ever. There are a lot of great teams in our region. We have a lot of early challenges in our nonconference and conference schedule. If we can stay focused on the right things through the course of the season we can be a fun team to watch,” said Reed.