The Tijuana Zonkeys just finished up their second home series of the 2018 CIBACOPA Mexican basketball season on Wednesday as they swept Pioneros de Los Mochis in a two-game set. The series was intense and exciting, especially in the second game of it, but Tijuana was the better team heading into the matchup and showcased that in the encounters. Los Mochis was heading into the series with a new head coach in Adolfo Sanchez after the resignation of Gilbert Lopez and the team did not seem prepared for this challenge on the road.
The border city team took the first game of the series in convincing fashion by a score of 96-77. James Penny’s team had control of the entire clash and really came away with a solid win led by the efforts of Mychal Ammons, who finished the game with 29 points. The other standouts for Tijuana were Gary Mondragon, who had 18 points, and Julio Cesar Martin Del Campo, who finished the game with 14 points.
The second game of the two-game set was a lot closer and less high-scoring as the Zonkeys came away with a narrow 85-82 victory. There was no clear standout on the day for Tijuana, but it was more of a team effort as the five starters scored at least 13 points each. The top scorer of the day was Mychal Ammons for a second consecutive game as he netted himself 17 points. Team captain Trayvon Lathan was not far behind with 16 points of his own.
Los Mochis’ top scorer on the night was Deandre Hall with 32 points and another impressive performance came from Michael Lizarraga, who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Lizarraga was an intriguing player to see in this series as he is deaf, but gives an immense effort on the court and does not leave anything behind.
Near the end of this second game, the clash seemed like a rugby match at times with the high intensity and close physical encounters. Neither team wanted to lose and Los Burro-Zebras had the slight edge at the Auditorio Municipal de Tijuana that led the team to a win.
After the game, Zonkeys’ head coach James Penny talked to EVT Sports and shared his thoughts on the game. Penny said, “We have a lot to work on, we missed a lot of layups and that’s concentration. That’s the type of thing that falls on us coaches and we need to work harder on them to be prepared for the game.”
The Oklahoma native also talked about the six-game homestand that the Zonkeys are currently in and the importance of it. Penny said, “We are trying to build momentum. This is an opportunity for us to be at home and enjoy our home crowd and work hard on what we need to do. We can get into our home gym here at the auditorium and work on things, get used to the rims better. But there’s nothing better than being at home in front of our fans.”
The border city team will keep on training at home before hosting the current CIBACOPA champions, Halcones de Obregon next Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25. The Striped Donkeys will try and keep up their success at home, currently with a 4-1 record at the Auditorio Municipal de Tijuana. The Zonkeys will also try to stay top of the league, currently leading the CIBACOPA with 15 points.