Local sports events

After the first week of Lone Star conference action in men’s basketball, three teams are undefeated in conference play. Four teams are looking for their first conference win. Three teams are ranked in the top 25 nationally with West Texas A&M remaining at #8, while UT-Permian Basin moved from #17 to #13 and Texas A&M Kingsville dropped from #20 to #23. Texas A&M Commerce is receiving votes in the polls.

#13 UT-Permian Basin sits atop the standings at 3-0 with wins over Eastern New Mexico University, Western New Mexico University, and #8 West Texas A&M. Commerce sits at 2-0 in conference play with wins over Cameron University and Midwestern State University. The third undefeated team in conference play is Texas A&M – Kingsville who got their lone win over Angelo State.

The Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team will close out the 2017 portion of their Lone Star Conference schedule this week against Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Commerce.

The Mustangs (2-6, 0-2 LSC) have five games left before the end of 2017 as after the two conference games this week, they will host three non-conference games against University of the Southwest, Arizona Christian and Embry Riddle before returning to conference action against Eastern New Mexico in Portales on Jan. 2.

The Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team brought the defensive pressure throughout the game and made life difficult for the fifth-ranked team in the nation. Ultimately in the end, West Texas A&M was able to come through with the plays for 57-43 Lone Star Conference victory Thursday night in the conference opener for both teams.

WNMU (0-6, 0-1 LSC) forced 18 turnovers, sent back three blocks and had seven steals on the night. Freshman Rachel Francisco led the way with 10 points, going 4-7 from the field. She also added two steals. Freshman Cassandra Vickery and junior Takiyah Lopez added eight points apiece, as Lopez also sent back two blocks.

Junior Willie McCray and sophomore Eddie Giron each tallied 12 points, as the Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team held a lead late in the first half and kept things close in the second half before No. 8 West Texas A&M pulled away for the 76-62 Lone Star Conference victory Thursday night in the conference opener for both teams.

McCray added a team-best seven rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Junior Jordan Enriquez also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied nine points. Giron was 4-9 from the field for his 12 points.

Senior middle blocker Heather Verrill added her second award this week when she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) South Central Region Team Wednesday.

 Verrill earned honorable mention honors, just a day after landing on the D2CCA South Central Region Second-Team. Earlier this year she took home Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Year and also was named to the First-Team.

Senior middle blocker Heather Verrill earned D2CCA All-South Central Region Second-Team honors after already taking home a pair of Lone Star Conference honors earlier this year.

Verrill was named the LSC Defensive Player of the Year, while also being selected to the First-Team. Verrill came on strong after missing the first two weeks of the season. She logged 74 sets, starting in 21 matches and she leads the LSC and is ranked 11th nationally in blocks per set at 1.35. Verrill has 100 total blocks this year, with 22 coming solo. She also has 143 kills, tallying a .314 hitting percentage, three assists, seven service aces and 30 digs.

With a defensive effort that held Texas A&M International to just 28 percent shooting, along with seven blocks, the Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team rolled to their largest win at home since 2013 as they downed the Dustdevils 71-51 Monday night.

It had been a long time coming for WNMU (2-4) as their last win of this margin came clear back on Dec. 14, 2013 inside Drag’s Court against Western State in which the Mustangs took the 81-52 victory. It’s also the first win over a Division II school since last year to start the season when WNMU took down Oklahoma Panhandle State, 83-73.

Cal Baptist recently moved up from No. 14 to No. 7 in this week’s latest poll and looked like one of the top teams in the nation as they tallied over 40 points in both halves on their way to taking the 85-50 victory over the Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team Tuesday night.

Junior Haneef Vaughn-Wilson collected his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season as he went for 14 points on 7-17 shooting. He also brought down four rebounds. Senior Latrell Spivey and junior Willie McCray scored eight points apiece. The Mustang defense kept the Lancers to 28 percent (9-32) shooting from three and forced 14 turnovers.

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Editor's Note

The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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