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Demonettes coming to life

December 17, 2018

While the Santa Fe High boys basketball team has stolen a lot of the headlines after a 7-0 start prior to a 75-64 loss to Rio Rancho, let’s not overlook the girls program.

After losing the last 11 games of the 2017-18 season, the Demonettes have shown signs of life — if not competitiveness — with a 4-4 start to the season that includes a 54-42 win over Roswell on Saturday. Uncertainty dominated the program prior to the season, what with head coach Nate Morris, who had just a year of coaching experience at the high school level (at Albuquerque Sandia last year). However, he spent five years as a middle school coach at Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School prior to that and had a dozen years as a coach on the Amateur Athletics Union circuit.

That kind of experience was helpful, considering the program had just four returning players with some semblance of varsity experience and guard Taylor Salazar, who was coming off surgery after tearing the ACL in her left leg. Salazar suffered a setback when she hurt the leg during a 34-26 win over Valencia in the opening round of the Bobby Rodriguez Capital City Tournament on Dec. 6 and missed the rest of the tournament. She was back against the Lady Coyotes, however, hitting three 3-pointers during a crucial 23-2 start to the game.

With a fully healthy team, Santa Fe High will find out where it stands in the same fashion the boys did — against Rio Rancho on Wednesday.

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The latest induction class for the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame was announced this week. Among them is the late Charlie Cowan, an offensive lineman who played at New Mexico Highlands before embarking on a 15-year professional career.

He was drafted into both the National Football League (fourth round, 45th overall pick by the Rams) and the American Football League (fifth round, 33rd overall by the Broncos).

He opted for the NFL, playing in Los Angeles from 1961 through 1975 and wearing No. 73. He started 187 of the 206 games he appeared in. He began his career at left guard, moved to right tackle in 1966 and played the final seven years of his career at left tackle. He started every game the final 10 years of his career.

Nicknamed “Humps,” Cowan stood 6-foot-4 and weighed 265 pounds. He died in 1998 at age 59.

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Speaking of the Hall of Fame, prep basketball coaching legends Mike Brown and Jim Murphy are also in this year’s class.

Brown won six straight state championships at Albuquerque Academy from 1989 to ’94. He coached the Chargers to 442 wins during his storied career and had both of his sons, Greg and Danny play for him and later return to Albuquerque as head coaches. Greg is still the head coach at Volcano Vista while Danny once got Highland to the Class 5A state title game.

Brown’s other star players included former professional golfer Notah Begay and current Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego.

Murphy is the only head coach in the history of Hope Christian, leading the Huskies to 16 state titles, including nine of the last 10 years. His 789 wins makes him the third-winningest coach in state history, leaving him just 65 wins shy of tying Pete Shock for second behind Ralph Tasker’s 1,122.

Murphy and Brown were introduced during a ceremony at Sunday’s Lobo basketball game in The Pit.

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Jeremy Anaya, a 2017 Capital graduate, is starting to make his presence felt as a part of the Northern New Mexico College men’s basketball program. The Eagles split two games over the weekend, and Anaya averaged 9.5 points per game in the process. He has played in all 17 games, averaging 3.4 points per contest.

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Congratulations to former Capital head football coach Steve Castille, who was hired recently to take over the program at Las Cruces Oñate earlier this week. Castille spent the past nine seasons as the offensive coordinator at Albuquerque Eldorado, and spent six years at the helm at Capital from 2004-09. During his time, he compiled a 27-37 mark with the Jaguars as he helped rebuild the program from six straight losing seasons. Capital reached the playoffs from 2005-08, winning the District 2-4A title in 2007. That also was the last year Capital won a playoff game, beating Santa Teresa 24-21 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

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