Breaking News
Home / News / Ron Drake, the traveling man, handling his new head coaching role at Academy of Technology and The Classics with his basketball wisdom, and happy in teaching it to the young girls program

Ron Drake, the traveling man, handling his new head coaching role at Academy of Technology and The Classics with his basketball wisdom, and happy in teaching it to the young girls program

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

It was late afternoon Saturday, one day after Valentine’s Day, one day after Ron Drake’s birthday, and the holiday is no doubt older than he is, but to him, all that matters is having a basketball team to coach.

And he’s been doing it a long time. How long, well for at least many moons, not the one we walked on the eventful year of 1969, but plenty about, let’s say, two decades later.
How about 30 years? He first coached in New Jersey, and after years of guiding the fortunes of the Immaculate Conception girls program, he traded in the Garden State for the Land of Enchantment.
He’s returned for visits to New Jersey, but New Mexico is his home despite living a distance from the schools he’s coached at. He’s sat and walked the sidelines of girls hoops at Santa Fe High, St. Michael’s, Espanola Valley, Pojoaque Valley, and Pecos, whom he coached to its first state championship last year.
But because he wanted to make shorter trips to a school nearer to his home in Sandia Park, which is near East Mountain High School, he looked elsewhere, checked around for vacancies and found one, the 7-year-old program at Academy of Technology and The Classics, a short ride west of the Santa Fe Community College.
If he says it’s closer, believe it. He’s traveled so many miles each new season, he’s knows where it’s less mileage, and now he’s happy in his new role with a young cast of basketball girls.
And he hasn’t slowed down, hasn’t lost his patience, hasn’t planed any retirements, hasn’t lost his touch of the game. He knows the Xs and Os, knows how to communicate with his players, gives them confidence, and when it’s game time, he trades in his shorts for a suit, dress shirt, and tie, sometimes even a basketball tie.
With all that, the beat went on late Saturday afternoon for Coach Drake. At the Christian Life Academy in Santa Fe, he coached his new ATC
team, the Phoenix, in a District 2-2A game against Tierra Encantada from theCity Different.
So far, he’s done so at a record pace.
He already surpassed the program’s previously best 9-win season with his 10th victory in 18 starts, and after dominating the Alacranes, 56-15, in a mercy-rule contest that went only an hour and 20 minutes with the scoreboard clock running the entire eight minutes, his youngsters stood at 12-8, 4-1 in district, on a 4-game win streak, and winners of four of their last five starts.
Not bad? You bet. Obviously the girls look up to him, realize they never got coaching like this, even ATC athletic director Tim Host has said that Coach Drake has taken the program to a new level.
Plus, its opened new doors for him, like the new gymnasium on campus and not having to play at IAIA up the road. No seniors, who cares? He’s apparently very happy to teach the game to a group of 8th graders, freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
And why not? He emptied his bench Saturday with about four minutes remaining, but before that his two 8th graders, Charli Koseoglu and Perla Miramontes, who lead the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, teamed with freshman point guard Chanelle Jaeger that paved the way to a second-straight win over the Alacranes.        .
Koseoglu, who leads the team in rebounds (12.5) and blocks, turned in the game-high 17 points, 14 coming in the first half when the Phoenix dominated 32-8. Miramontes, the team scoring leader (12.7), added eight points after missing practice Friday.
Then there was Jaeger, the assist leader (4.2) who pushes the ball up court, looks to dish off, and is getting better from 3-point range, added 13 points, five assists, and tossing in a pair of 3s.
Nothing like balance, and the Phoenix had it with eight of its 11 players getting into the scoring column. Tierra Encantada, a charter school as is ATC, led twice at 2-0 and 4-3.
But after Koseoglu led the way to a 14-1 run and a 17-6 first quarter lead, it was no contest. The Phoenix forced turnovers with tight defense, controlled the backboards, and were better from the foul line in converting 8-of-13 to a dismal 4-for-17 for the home team that included 1-for-9 in the third quarter.
When the score became 44-14 after three quarters, the clock began to tick down.
In the previous game against the Alacranes (2-12, 2-3), ATC trailed 17-12 after one quarter, but then allowed the visiting to only a dozen points the rest of the way in a 46-24 triumph.
Drake’s girls have three more regular-season games, with the key one in the final one against defending district champion Espanola McCurdy, which defeated ATC in the first meeting at home, so now the Phoenix get a chance at home.
Upcoming Monday is a home game versus Monte del Sol, then it’s supposed to be a visit from the combined Desert Academy/Santa Fe Waldorf mix, but it has already forfeited twice to the Phoenix, so scratch this one out.
Other good news, though, is that ATC is bound to make the 16-school field selected for the state tournament, especially if it can win the district tournament. That would truly put the stamp of approval on the hiring of Ron Drake.
But it was also his choice. He had a pick of three schools that needed a new head girls coach and he chose Academy of Technology and The Classics, and on Saturday he certainly looked like he belonged there.
Yes, the Coach Drake beat goes on and the players are literally beating the drums to now have him on their side.

Check Also

Gods Encouraging Word of the day

“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even …