In what was supposed to help the Mingus Union boys basketball head coach Mark Owens solidify his varsity roster for the fast approaching season, the Marauders Red and Grey scrimmage only made his job that much more difficult with many of his student athletes showing they have what it takes to play varsity.
"I wanted to do something for our guys that could highlight the work they've been doing," Owens said. "One of the reasons why football has had tremendous success, I think, is that they value and look forward to having their Red and Grey scrimmage. Its an opportunity to give the community a preview of what's to come, but also it gives them [the team] a chance to work out the kinks in a live game situation."
Of course, with the Marauders still competing for a spot on varsity, it made Owens' job that much more difficult after the scrimmage.
"It's a positive thing, it's a good thing, but [the scrimmage] made it much more difficult," Owens said. "There were so many guys that played well and did positive things. I mean it looked like we had 19 varsity guys out there."
When the final buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game, the Grey team toppled the Red team 64-55.
"It was nice playing against my teammates," said sophomore Ashton Loring.
The Grey team, led by Loring's hot hand, held on to the lead through the entire contest. It did not take Loring long to find his shot, and once he did there was no stopping him. While it is still early in the season and the Marauders have not faced another team, Loring looked like he could be one of the best shooters in Northern Arizona.
"Everyone just tells me to shot," Loring said. "I'm a shooter, so if I shoot a three [and make it], I'll shoot another one, no matter what."
That is not to say the Red team laid down. Despite being down by as may as 15-points, the Red team fought back, pulling within a few points. Unfortunately, their teammates in grey were able to hold off the advance and keep their lead.
"We started out a little slow, well my team did, and then we got into the groove afterwards," said senior Micah Nevarez. "It felt good to be able to go into competition like that and get into the game speed."
One thing that the Marauders will need to work on going forward is staying out of foul trouble. Following the horn for halftime, the Red team committed nine fouls, compared to the Grey team's five. They did calm down in the second half, only fouling the Grey squad seven times. The Grey team notched five fouls in both halves.
"[We need to] try not to use our hands as much, try to do what our coaches tell us," Nevarez said. "Use our feet, not have to try to reach or swat, or anything like that. Just try to go straight up."
Owens liked what he saw on the court, but acknowledged that they "still have a lot of work to do" to get to where the team wants to be. A positive though was that the Marauders "definitely didn't go backward" and took "some steps forward."
With the season beginning on Dec. 3, Owens and his staff has one more chance to see his team in action and hammer out a roster. On Nov. 23, beginning at noon, the Marauders will be holding a Preseason Jamboree.
The scrimmages bring eight teams together, including 2012-13 Division-IV state champions Joy Christian. Former Mingus Union basketball coach Scott Brown, who took the Marauders to the state championship game in 1996, coaches the Eagles.
"We have some young guys right now that are making plays to play varsity, and they're getting better and better everyday," Owens said. "I guess having that kind of depth is a great problem to have, but it makes it difficult for myself and our coaching staff to figure out which kids are going to be varsity kids."