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The Magdalena Steers are ready to run. “We like to run, a lot,” said junior Joseph Zamora. “We play fast,” said junior Jeffrey Stuteville.  “We try to work hard on defense and turn them into fast breaks.”

“I have a hungry group, they feel like they have something they want to prove based on our summer and preseasons workouts,” said head coach Jory Mirabal.  “They feel the weight of some seasons before, and they want to keep that going even though we lost six seniors.”

“A lot of people are underestimating us because of how big of a senior class we had, but I believe we can make it back,” said Stuteville.

Magdalena reached the state final in each of the last four years.  Their record during that span is 107 wins and three losses.  Only three losses over the last four years.

“I think that kind of success leads to other kids wanting that same feeling and they know now it’s their chance to prove that they’re a part of that group too,” said Mirabal.  “I don’t think they want to be the team that drops the ball.”

“There’s not really pressure, but I expect a lot coming from the last couple years,” said Zamora.

“We expect to be right back in the mix ready for another state championship,” said junior guard Ayden Herschbach.

The Steers lost half a dozen players from last year and have a younger roster this season which will take some more teaching. “I think last year we had 16 different defenses that we would run and 30-something offenses,” explained Mirabal.  “We’re running three defenses and three offenses and it’s fine.  What’s been exciting for me has been getting back to basics.”

It hasn’t always been a world of wins, blue trophies, and title game appearances. When Mirabal first took over in 2008, his team started the season 3-and-14.  “These guys don’t remember what it was like to NOT be that team,” said Mirabal.  “The team that I had in ’15 when we won our first one, they did know.  We had teams there that would literally take tally marks on the sideline to see how many times we could just get the ball half court.  People would pressure us into the ground.  Really, that led to us having to develop and change and try to put kids in better situations, as coaches we learned a lot through that. But these kids, they think since grad school this is the way it’s supposed to be and it’s not.  It can go away like that. But they’re hungry and I appreciate that part.

With a dominance in their district and three state titles, Mirabal has put Magdalena on the map.

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