Tryouts and practices for the Taos high school basketball team started this week, and the Tigers are excited for the coming season.

“It’s a bit early to tell,” said boys coach Hernando Chavez of the potential strength of the team. “But when we get healthy, we will be a tough team.”

They will need all the grit and toughness they can muster this season. Chavez says both the boys and the girls coaching staffs scheduled a grueling season this year.

“We face off against some really tough teams. But that’s on purpose,” he says. “We will have to start strong. We could’ve had a somewhat lighter schedule, but we want it tough.”

To his point, the boys will start the season facing off against Capital, a 5A team with a recent championship run. Then, they will go on to face powerhouse teams like Belen, Bernalillo and St. Pius.

The key, says Chavez, is getting healthy. The Tigers will be leaning on junior Daemon Ely for some height advantage. The only issue? Ely is also a star quarterback for the football team. The football season just ended, which means virtually every player on the team is also working to recover. Ely is currently nursing a torn oblique muscle.

And the girls don’t have it any easier than the boys, as they will also face stiff competition right off the bat. They travel to Bernallilo to face Gallup for their season opener. Gallup has only lost a single game since March of 2020.

Still, Chavez, who is also the interim Athletic Director, says the teams will be ready.

“We feel that this is where this program is at right now,” he says, referring to the high level of competition scheduled for the coming season.

In a strange 2020 season, the Tiger boys had a stellar season, finishing with a 9-3 record (5-3 in 4A dist. 2). They will start the 2021-22 season off on Dec. 2 against Valencia High School at a neutral site.

The girls also had a successful 2020-21 season that ended with an 8-4 record (6-2 in 4A dist. 2). They start this season on Nov. 30 against Gallup High School at a neutral site (Bernalillo High School).

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