The Miami Vandals started their run in the Copper Cities tournament on Friday morning, just two days after Christmas on Dec. 27. They played as the visiting team against St. Johns at the HDMS gymnasium. The game started slow for Miami as they fell behind St. Johns. St. John’s defense shut down any offensive attacks the Vandals could muster. Every shot Miami took was contested, every pass was interrupted or stolen during the first quarter. Despite St. John’s tough as nails defense, through disciplined and fundamental play, the Vandals were able to take it to the next level and willed themselves to a 50 to 44 Vandal victory. Gabe Escobedo (#00) led the way for the Vandals with 15 points, followed by Matt Riddle (#32) with 11 points. While scoring points is how you win the game, it was the passing attack of the Vandals that finally opened things up. St. Johns sat in a very tough zone that caused turn overs early and often. However, Miami was able to make half time and fourth quarter adjustments that ultimately led to a Vandal Victory.
The Miami Vandals second game of the day was against San Pasqual. The game was at Globe High School and was set for 2 p.m. With a tough win already under their belts, the Vandals would use their bench to wear down their opponent. San Pasqual only had five players available for this tournament. Coach Kenny Vargas recognized this right away and his bench play through the second quarter.
With halftime looming, the Vandals had used player rotation to stay fresh and managed to stay within striking distance of San Pasqual. Gabe Escobedo (#00), sophomore starter, steals the ball and breaks away from an easy layup.
The very next play Daniel Moat comes off the bench, gets fouled on a shot and drains both of his Free Throw attempts to put Miami and San Pasqual at a 24 all tie. In the second half the fresh legs of Miami’s starters wore on San Pasqual and Miami was able to secure another Vandal victory. The final score was Miami 59, San Pasqual 44.