The Tijuana Zonkeys just recently completed a six-game road trip and will now be back in Tijuana this Saturday and Sunday to play Obregon. The Road Trip was successful, with the border city side getting three wins and three losses. The Zonkeys are now in second place in the CIBACOPA competition with 15 points. In the CIBACOPA, each win is two points and each loss will get you a point. The ‘Burro-Zebras’ look like a team that will be competitive this year. Here is a wrap of the action that went on in this six-game road trip:
First Series: Zonkeys Split Two-Game Series in Guaymas
The first stop in the road trip was a two-game series in Guaymas, Sonora against the Ostioneros de Guaymas. The first game of the series was won by the Zonkeys, getting a 90-83 victory. The win did not come easy for David Abramowitz’s side, going into the fourth period with a slight 67-63 advantage. The Zonkeys did always seem to have control of the game, which helped cement their victory in this opening game of the series. The defense was also a key to the victory, getting 43 rebounds, including 10 each from Trayvon Lathan and Leon Gibson III.
The standout performers of the game had to be Gibson and Sean Garner. Leon Gibson III had 20 points along with those 10 rebounds, while Sean Gardner had an outstanding offensive showing with 23 points. The captain, Marcus Morrison, was also influential on the game, getting 16 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Unfortunately, San Diego Native, Karim Rodriguez, had a disappointing game, only getting two points, going 0-3 in three-point attempts. The first game of the series was a solid team effort by Tijuana and a wonderful way to start the road trip.
The second game of the series in Guaymas would not be so kind, the Zonkeys falling by a score of 85-74. The ‘Zebra-Donkeys’ were down throughout the entire game, going into the fourth period down by 19 points. David Abramowitz did almost establish a comeback, with the Zonkeys scoring 24 points in the fourth period. Guaymas had a solid team effort with three starting players getting 15 or more points, and the bench scoring 18 points collectively. Trayvon Lathan was easily the best player for Tijuana, getting 16 points with seven rebounds. Luis “Chupa” Ramirez provided good leadership off the bench as well, getting 12 points, going 4-for-6 in three-point opportunities.
The youngster, Jose Carlos Zesati, was also influential off the bench, getting 11 points, two rebounds, and two assists. A turning point in the game that really affected Tijuana was captain, Marcus Morrison, being suspended from the game before the second period of the game ended. Morrison, who is usually a huge contributor, played less than eight minutes. Excluding Luis Ramirez, the Zonkeys were poor shooting three-pointers, going 8-for-27, 4-for-21 if you exclude Ramirez’s attempts. The second game of the series was a glimpse of what can happen if everything goes wrong. Fortunately, that does not happen often for the Tijuana Zonkeys.
Second Series: Zonkeys Lose Two In Contested Series In Hermosillo
The Tijuana Zonkeys continued their tour in Sonora, the next stop of the six-game road trip being in Hermosillo, Sonora against the Rayos de Hermosillo. The border city side started off the series with a heartbreaking 91-81 loss. There were several positives to take from the loss, as the team looked united and gave a good effort even without the captain, Marcus Morrison. Trayvon Lathan had another standout performance with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Leon Gibson III provided the rebounds again, getting 12 in the game along with his 11 points. Sean Gardner had another impressive offensive showing, netting 18 points, while San Diego native Karim Rodriguez had a solid game, getting 15 points after two unproductive games in Guaymas. The first game was a hard-fought encounter with the Zonkeys falling apart in the last few minutes of the game to get the L.
The second game was similar to the first, David Abramowitz’s squad falling by a score of 92-82. The Zonkeys were up at the start of each period, going into the fourth period with a 65-55 lead. Tensions were high in the game, with both teams battling it out and getting very competitive. The ‘Burro-Zebras’ fell apart in the final period of the game, with the defensive play, especially on three-pointers, being sloppy. The Rayos’ captain, Steve Monreal, was causing severe problems to the defense, especially in the final few minutes of the game. Monreal finished the game with four three-pointers and 18 total points. The player of the game for Tijuana had to be Leon Gibson III, who posted 16 points with 10 rebounds. Marcus Morrison was not far behind, producing 14 points with nine rebounds and three assists. Sean Gardner’s passing game emerged in the game after not being a huge influence in previous games. The American netted 10 points and earned five assists during the game. Another player who showed great leadership and gave an outstanding effort towards the end of the game was Luis Ramirez. The veteran scored 13 points, getting two threes’. Finally, San Diego native, Karim Rodriguez, got himself nine points with four rebounds and four assists. The game was very entertaining to watch despite the loss for the Zonkeys, and offered a glimpse of how competitive the CIBACOPA can be. The border city side did end up losing both matches in Hermosillo but gave a talented team effort in both encounters and played mano-a-mano against a tough opposition.
Third Series: Zonkeys Sweep Pioneros in Sinaloa
The Zonkeys final destination on this six-game road trip was a two-game set in Los Mochis, Sinaloa against the Pioneros de Los Mochis. After three consecutive losses, David Abramowitz had to turn it around against a struggling Pioneros team. The first game of the series started out as a completely dominant performance by Tijuana– by the time the fourth period rolled around the score was 82-61 at the Auditorio Benito Juarez. The striped donkeys continued to shine offensively in the fourth period, scoring another 21 points, but did let their guard down defensively, the final score being 103-87 in Tijuana’s favor. The top player for Los Mochis proved to be Cameron Forte who got himself 30 points, 17 rebounds, and two assists. The ‘Burro-Zebras’ also had some top performers on their team– Marcus Morrison and Leon Gibson III being among the top players of the night. Marcus Morrison scored the most points in the, game netting 31 points, and going 6-for-9 on three-point opportunities. Gibson III had another big night, scoring 26 points and getting 15 rebounds. The game was another solid team effort, the Zonkeys getting 25 assists collectively as opposed to the Pioneros’ 12. The victory was a huge morale boost heading into the final game of the two-game series.
The second game at the Auditorio Benito Juarez was much calmer, the game being more dependent on defensive performances. The Zonkeys did manage to get the two-game sweep, defeating the team from Sinaloa 84-78 in the final game of the six-game road stand. The game started with the ‘Sinaloenses’ getting the upper hand over the border city side, Los Mochis being up 19-10 after the first quarter. Things did not turn around after the second quarter, Tijuana heading into the half down, 36-28. The third quarter of the encounter marked a turnaround, the Zonkeys leaving the half ahead by a score of 56-50.
The fourth quarter was the most contested quarter with both teams being rigid on the court, the ‘Burro-Zebras’ ultimately coming away with the edge, winning 84-78. Cameron Forte had another magnificent game with Los Mochis, getting 43 points and 17 rebounds. The solitary effort by Forte was not enough to get past Tijuana’s collective work in the duel. Leon Gibson III was by far the best player of the game for the striped donkeys, earning 25 points with 17 rebounds and playing in all 40 minutes of the match. Leadership was felt by the performances of Marcus Morrison and Luis “Chupa” Ramirez. Morrison scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and three assists, while the Tijuana native, Ramirez, got 16 points off the bench. Trayvon Lathan also put in a solid shift defensively, getting 10 rebounds. The rigid defensive work was what ultimately won the game for David Abramowitz’s side, sealing the series sweep in Los Mochis. The Zonkeys ended the six-game road trip obtaining three wins and will now come back home to play in Tijuana against Obregon this Saturday and Sunday. Vamos Zonkeys!
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.