Herrera is RMAC Defensive Player of the Year

Rather than being blocked out, Alex Herrera preferred to do the blocking himself: Colorado high school’s single-season blocks leader led the RMAC with 73 blocked shots this season, then was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Rather than being blocked out, Alex Herrera preferred to do the blocking himself: Colorado high school’s single-season blocks leader led the RMAC with 73 blocked shots this season, then was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Ignacio High School alumnus Alex Herrera (2008-10) left a rather large impression on the Colorado High School Activities Association:

Most blocks in one game: Herrera, tied with three other players with 15.

Most blocks in one season: Herrera, with 197.

Most blocks in his career: Herrera, fourth with 311.

It didn’t take long for Herrera to leave his mark on the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, either. The Skyhawks’ 6-10, 235-pound sophomore center was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, the first in Fort Lewis College men’s basketball history.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Alex,” FLC head coach Bob Hofman said in a news release. “He’s worked extremely hard for any individual accomplishments he gets. It’s a nice reflection on our whole team. The way Alex has worked this past year makes us extremely proud of his achievements.”

Herrera and FLC – ranked 17th in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Coaches Poll on Tuesday – will host Colorado Mines at 7:30 p.m. today in the RMAC Shootout quarterfinals. FLC is the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, Colorado Mines the 6-seed.

FLC point guard Marcus Ayala and shooting guard Nick Tomsick were named to the All-RMAC second team.

Herrera picked up at FLC right where he left off at IHS. He leads the RMAC in blocked shots (73) and set an FLC record with four RMAC Player of the Week honors this season – two on offense, two on defense.

Herrera already is just 10 blocks shy from the FLC record.

In his first season as a full-time starter, Herrera led the league in blocks and field-goal percentage (62.3 percent), finished fourth in rebounding (8.7 per game) and ninth in scoring (15.6 points per game).

Ayala scored a career-high 25 points to help FLC upset then-No. 1 Metro State on Feb. 22 at Whalen Gymnasium. His late heroics down the Skyhawks’ regular-season homestretch have helped the team to a trio of cruicial victories that count toward their regional ranking.

“Marcus has been such a great clutch player all year long for us,” Hofman said.

The same can be said for Tomsick, the owner of three buzzer-beating 3-pointers this season that have either forced overtime or won a game in regulation.

The Bloomfield High School alumnus and North Platte Community College transfer “has been a great addition to our team this year,” Hofman said. “He’s made so many clutch shots for us.”

Jonathan Morse, a 6-8, 245-pound senior for fourth-ranked Metro State, was named the RMAC Player of the Year. Morse averaged 14 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.4 steams, 1.4 blocks and shot 51.5-percent from the floor in leading the Roadrunners to the RMAC regular-season title and a No. 1 ranking for much of the regular season.

Derrick Clark, Morse’s coach, was named RMAC Coach of the Year. Metro State won 22 consecutive games to start the season before its loss to FLC and is 24-2 overall and 20-2 in the conference.

Derrick White, a 6-4, 165-pound guard from UC-Colorado Springs was named the RMAC Freshman of the Year.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com