Open Announce
Frank Mercogliano Photo

Lobo Alums Light Up Pit Scoreboard

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a night of many things. It was a night to remember several great Lobos, all lost too soon, from JB White to Kelvin Scarborough to Miranda Sanchez. It was a night to remember the legendary Papa Brown.  It was a night to get Team Enchantment ready for their shot at the million-dollar prize money in The Basketball Tournament, which starts this weekend.

But it was a night when live sports returned to The Pit, the most famous venue in the state, and one of the iconic basketball arenas in the country. It had been too long, but judging by the crowd, and the fun everyone had, it was a night well worth the 16 months in the making, and the 4,000+ that came out were happen to have Lobo Basketball back.

The Lobo alumni game saw players as far back as from the mid-2000s in guys like Chad Toppert and JR Giddens take to the court, along with more recent Lobos such as Anthony Mathis and Antino Jackson.  The event served as a real-time test of The Enchantment, the Lobo alumni team that will take on the Oklahoma State alumni team, dubbed the Stillwater Stars, on Saturday, July 17 at 6 p.m. Mountain Time in the opening round.

Coached by Kenny Thomas, the Enchantment quickly showed that they were out for business, with a little bit of fun, bolting to a 35-24 first quarter lead and a 65-41 halftime advantage.  Of the 10 players on the squad, nine eventually hit for double-figures, led by Phillip McDonald, who drained five threes on the way to a game-high 25 points.  Anthony Mathis hit three triples and added 19 points as The Enchantment were never threatened.

The Enchantment played in cherry uniforms and played as Team Kelvin Scarborough, their jersey fronts eschewing a number for a large picture of one of the most popular Lobos of all-time who coached for many years in the metro area.  The opponents were UNM alums that made up Team JB White.  That team wore orange with a silhouette on the front of the jersey of JB White, the Land of Enchantment prep star who lost his life just the week prior to his enrollment as a freshman at UNM.

The JB White was led by Jamal Fenton and Obij Aget, who each had 16 points.  Fenton and Jamaal Smith put on a fun third quarter display of tit-for-tat long-range bombing that fired the crowd up as Fenton hit, with Smith dropping back a little deeper to match.  Fenton then hit one from even deeper, and Smith again matched before Fenton finally missed from the Lobo logo some 35-feet away.

The game was 124-84 at the fourth-quarter four-minute mark, which kicked in the Elam Ending, which is used in The Basketball Tournament.  To just the Enchantment team a better real-life version, the score was switched to JB White leading 126-124, setting the target score at 134.

Down 131-128, Giddens hit a three to equalize, and after a JB White shot for the win missed, Darrington Hobson hit the last of his 15 points, banking in a straight-on three to win it.

Hobson’s three came with Anthony Mathis on the floor, who won the three-point contest at halftime.  Mathis had a bye to the semifinals, where he faced off with Jackson.  Antino got there with an 11-7 win over Elijah Brown.  Mathis gave Jackson zero chance.  He took 11 shots and hit all 11 for an 11-4 win to advance to the finals.

There he met with Chad Toppert.  Toppert beat McDonald 11-5 in the opening round and then zipped past Roman Martinez 11-6.  In the final, Mathis opened just 1-for-3 as Toppert took an early lead, but Mathis then canned eight straight to go up 9-7, eventually winning 11-9, hitting 22-of-25 shots.

But it was the old man, so to speak, that stole the show as JR Giddens, who is the head women’s coach at Northern New Mexico, scored a 36 in the opening round with a vicious reverse dunk, and then beat Cleveland Thomas in the final, throwing down a hammer from the right wing before leaping onto the press tables and eventually taking a bow.

Final stats
Team Kelvin Scarborough (P-R-A): McDonald 25-0-1 Mathis 19-4-5 Smith 16-3-2 Hobson 15-6-6 Jackson 13-4-6 Thomas 12-2-5 Giddens 12-2-1 Gordon 12-6-1 Holyfield 10-6-0 T. Williams 6-1-0.
Team JB White (P-R-A): Aget 16-2-0 Fenton 16-3-3 Edwards 15-5-0 Brown 13-2-1 D. Williams 11-2-0 Prentice 5-1-0 Perez 3-0-1 Gary 3-0-1 Toppert 3-2-3 Martinez 2-4-1 C. Adams 2-1-2 X. Adams 0-1-1.