NMJC Men Win T-Bird Classic
11/8/2006 2:50:00 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. In an exciting second-half comeback, the New Mexico Junior College men's basketball team won the 2006 Thunderbird Classic championship on Saturday, November 4, against New Mexico Military Institute with a score of 79-67.
Held November 2-4 in NMJC's Caster Activity Center, the tournament not only showcased the talents of NMJC and NMMI, but also included those of Midland Heat and the New Mexico All-Stars. Domonic Tilford of NMJC was the leading scorer with 24 points and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Michael Graham added 17 points of his own, including three 3-pointers; Jesus Gonzalez contributed 13 points; and Rene Farias added 11 points. The All-Tournament team, as voted on by the head coaches, included NMJC's Tilford, Farias, and Todd Jackson; NMMI's Byron Byrd and Brandon Rogers; and New Mexico All-Stars' Derek Freeman.
The Lady T-Birds were pitted against Cochise College and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, as well as nationally ranked Trinity Valley Community College. In spite of giving TVCC a hard run for their money -- and even taking the lead during the first half -- the Lady T-Birds lost 86-69 to the Lady Cardinals. Brittany Imig and Cindee Wright led NMJC in a combined score of 33 points and were both selected to the All-Tournament Team, with Wright named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. The rest of the All-Tournament Team included Trinity Valley's Darika Hill and Simone Cooks; Cochise College's Nichole Perez; and Arkansas-Fort Smith's Katorra Lewis.
In two special ceremonies held during the tournament, NMJC former coaches Ron Black and Ross Black were both honored. On Thursday, November 2, the new basketball court was dedicated in honor of Ron Black, former NMJC professor and men's basketball coach. On Friday, November 3, Ross Black, NMJC's first head men's basketball coach, as well as first track & field coach, was honored for his induction into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.