The 10-year-old says she is attending “the best game of her life” while Aggies dominate northern New Mexico
LAS CRUCES – 10-year-old Aubrey Gurule said she attended the best basketball game of her life in New Mexico state at the Pan American Center on Saturday, and not because the Aggies beat Northern New Mexico College 93:60.
Aubrey and her two younger siblings, Mason and Carly, not only brought three cuddly toys for the third NMSU teddy bear litter to benefit Toys for Tots, a charity that aimed to collect and distribute new toys to less fortunate children, but also a The drawing, which Aubrey submitted in an NMSU “Design the Season” social media competition, was printed on the game tickets.
“I was really excited. I didn’t even know I was going to win,” said Aubrey. “I was really excited to just enter this (competition).”
Mason also had a drawing selected to be printed on t-shirts handed out at an NMSU women’s soccer game in late October.
Aubrey’s mom, Katie, said Aubrey was thrilled to watch the game to see her design on the ticket, but the three kids could identify with other kids who wanted or needed a stuffed toy at a difficult moment and didn’t need conviction to a toy.
A few years ago, Katie said that she and her three children were in a car accident and firefighters were supplying the children with teddy bears while the emergency services handled the accident.
“I explained that to them (why they bring stuffed animals to the teddy litter),” said Katie. “Do you remember when you were scared? We stood on the side of the road and didn’t know what to do and the firefighters were great with you and you all went home with something to make you feel safe? “That’s actually the part they remember.”
At halftime, more than a hundred fans tossed dozens of teddy bears and stuffed animals into Lou Henson’s yard for the US Marines, Toys for Toys’ service division, to collect.
“When someone gets hurt or something, it’s good to feel like you’re giving someone something you don’t even know,” said Aubrey. “It’s good to feel the way I do because I love it because I like it. It’s fun too.”
NM State Athletics Assistant Director of Marketing Nicole Sack said the teddy bear litter has now collected thousands of animals. The NMSU did not hold the event last year as the Aggies did not play in Las Cruces due to the pandemic.
“I think the most important thing we can teach our kids is that gifts are fun, but the fun of Christmas is the spirit of giving back,” said Katie. “I know it’s hard for kids to always understand, but it’s important for them to take the lessons of giving and giving each year, not just getting.”
On the pitch, the Aggies throttled Northern New Mexico, a Division II opponent, from start to finish without the starters Jabari Rice, Johnny McCants and Nate Pryor within the two halftime buzzers.
More:Pryor’s buzzer-beater via UNM cemented Aggie’s legacy
After NMSU scored a goal on their first possession, NMSU held NNM goalless for 12 minutes as they took an extended 24-3 run to start play. The Aggies led at break 45:27 with eight different scorers, including graduate transfer Yuat Alok with 14 points.
NMSU head coach Chris Jans played with 10 different players and nine Aggie players met. Redshirt senior guard Clayton Henry scored his first points of the season after missing the first nine games of the year with a foot injury.
More:New Mexico State Men’s Basketball Mailbag: Are Referees “Technically Happier” Than Ever?
“It was exactly what the doctor ordered to come home. It’s been a long time since we were in this building and I personally in this building,” Jans said after missing the Aggies’ last two games Pan Am due to COVID-19 protocols. “I was looking forward to being back and we needed this game. It was the perfect timing for us for a number of reasons.
“Of course, (we) had to rest some guys who were a little confused … and then the by-product was that we got some guys minutes that they all think they deserve, and some do probably, but to see and individually judge where they are. “
The Aggies outperformed NNMC 48-33 in the second half and crossed after pushing the lead over 20 points after 17 minutes.
Alok, sophomore red shirt student Will McNair Jr., freshman striker Marchelus Avery, and red shirt junior guard Teddy Allen all finished in double digits. Allen led all scorers with 19 points and the Aggies ricocheted off NNM 51-32.
The NMSU had won their previous four games with a total of 13 points.
More:NMSU ends 18-point comeback to shock Washington State
“It felt great, it wasn’t so stressful for all of us today,” said Jans. “It was pretty stressful for a couple of weeks with the games and the placements we had and it was kind of exactly what the doctor ordered.”
Stephen Wagner is a sports reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be found on Twitter at @ stephenwag22 and can be reached at [email protected]