Dora Schools hosted the J.P. Stone Invitational basketball tournament this past weekend which gave teams a chance to get some much-needed games and experience for the long road ahead.
Dora Athletic Director and Coach Ty Thatcher said the Dora School Board been wanting to do a tournament.
“They’ve been talking to me for a number of years to do some things to get a tournament going,” Thatcher said. “I told them it was going to be a lot of work because you have to ask a lot from the community and staff to put one on, as well as parents.”
Thatcher said the board made a verbal agreement to ugrade the gym and school, then he started work on the tournament.
Both boys and girls teams from Dora, Hagerman, Tucumcari, Springer, Valley Christian Academy, New Mexico Military Institute, Gateway Christian Academy and Lake Arthur were invited to the tournament. The Dora girls JV filled in when Valley Christian’s girls couldn’t make the trip.
Thatcher said the tournament got more than $1,000 in support from businesses and sponsors.
“I feel the team got a lot from it and it was a quality event,” Thatcher said. “I think it will survive and continue to get better and better each year.”
Springer traveled the farthest and couldn’t afford a place to stay, so Dora Municipal Schools let them take up residence in the gym for the weekend.
Hagerman beat Dora 73-36 for the tournament boys title and Dora beat Tucumcari 50-2 for the girls title.
Sam Dunlap, the bus driver for Tucumcari Schools, was impressed with how well Dora handled the inaugural tournament.
“It was a very good tournament,” said Dunlap, a retired teacher. “I thought the Hagerman and Springer (boys semifinal, won by Hagerman) was really good, but I saw several games that were also interesting to watch.”
Plaques were given to teams in the championship and consolation championship games, and Edward Montoya of Hagerman and Laura Fought of Tucumcari were named the John Wooden Leadership Award winners.
NMMI coach Pilar Carrasco said they’re in a transition mode since they dropped down from class 3A to Class 2A over the off season.
“For us, games are the most important thing because we need to get in as many games in as possible to prepare for our district,” Carrasco said. “I love small-town New Mexico. I think small towns do tournaments better then 5A and 4A schools, but that is just my opinion.
“Everybody in the whole town is here and they are very supportive. Communities like Dora, Elida, Floyd and Portales do a great job of doing things like this and we’re looking forward to coming back next year.”