Las Cruces looking like threat to defend state title

High School Sports

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – The Las Cruces boys basketball team won the 2020 Class 5A state championship in New Mexico, and the 2021 rendition of the Bulldawgs looks like a threat to do so, too.

The Bulldawgs cruised past Gadsden 77-43 on Saturday afternoon behind 30 points from Deuce Benjamin and 28 points from Isaiah Carr. On the year, Las Cruces is 9-0.

In a season that was moved and shortened due to COVID-19, the Bulldawgs have rolled with the punches and managed to remain one of the top teams in the state. Only eight teams will qualify for the state tournament this year, and with three games left in the regular season, it appears Las Cruces will be one of them.

“We’re just small-town folks from Las Cruces, I hope we’ll have a chance to compete against the big-city folks from Albuquerque and see what happens,” said Bulldawgs head coach William Benjamin. “The way it’s a shortened season, it’s just about competing right now. Hopefully we can compete against the big boys and see what happens.”

Led by their two stars Benjamin and Carr, the Bulldawgs should be a favorite the rest of the way. Both juniors, they each hold a pair of scholarship offers from Division I programs. Carr has offers from Lehigh and Western Illinois, and Benjamin has offers from FIU and New Mexico State, the hometown program his father led to the Sweet 16 in the 1990s.

“It would be a great opportunity to follow my dad’s footsteps at the Division I level,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin is also receiving interest from Colorado as well.

“Lehigh was a crazy, huge offer and I’m so appreciative for it,” said Carr.

Next up for LCHS is a big game with Alamogordo on Tuesday night in Las Cruces at 7 p.m.

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