By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The city of Dora will have its fingerprint all over the boys 1A-2A South All-Star basketball team when it faces the North 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pit in Albuquerque.
Dora head coach Ty Thatcher will coach the South with two home-grown Coyotes, as seniors Ryan Craig and Casey O’Connor made the 12-man team.
“I hope Ryan and Casey are in shape. Going that long without being in the gym, I know they’ve played some and been in the gym here at Dora,” Thatcher said. “Both of them have been working and vacationing all summer, and I know they haven’t been into the gym as much as they would have liked. We’ll get them going before we play on Thursday.”
Craig and O’Connor helped the Coyotes finish as the Class 1A runner-up to Gateway Christian.
“Ryan (is) an inside guy, a left-hander, a good player; he plays good defense and handles the floor well. It’s going to be fun to get to coach him one more time,” Thatcher said. “Casey’s in a good position where we’ve only got four guards on this particular team. So he’s going to have some responsibility at the guard position for me this week, and I’m sure he’ll be up for that.”
O’Connor, who plans on attending Eastern New Mexico University in the fall, looks forward to one more basketball game.
“I’m real excited,” O’Connor said. “I’ve been trying to play a little bit so I can get back into shape.”
Thatcher said the All-Star game is an great opportunity for himself and his boys.
“We’re excited about it,” Thatcher said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for myself and for them.”
Estancia and Mesilla High School join Dora in placing two players each on the South squad.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some new kids and coaching some quality kids,” Thatcher said. “And our boys are excited about getting to play with some different guys of high caliber and get some experience in the Pit again.”
One of those quality kids Thatcher talks about is Gateway Christian’s Jevvon Hunter. Hunter was a big reason the Warriors won their first state championship.
“I would imagine (Hunter) will have the ball in his hands an awful lot and it will be nice to have to have somebody else try to slow him down,” Thatcher said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to go relax and have fun,” O’Connor said. “You get to go and play with the best. I think that will be cool.”
Dora’s Caleb King was scheduled to assist Thatcher, but King is currently on a mission trip. Melrose coach Casey Pack will be the South assistant.