St. Michael's girls head for district foe Las Vegas Robertson Friday night with confidence in first round of the state basketball tournament
All five 2-4A schools in the field, while in 6A Santa Fe High takes the long ride to top-seed Hobbs, Pecos is home to Loving in 3A, and in 5A Espanola Valley hosts Aztec
By ARNIE LESHIN
Hail, hail, the gang's all here. To break this down, it refers to the District 2-4A girls as the opening round of the state basketball tournament bounces in Friday.
Five schools in the district, all five in. One familiar match-up comes when 14th seeded St. Michael's visits top-seed Las Vegas Robertson. They met twice in the regular season and it equaled a split. At the Cardinals, the Lady Horsemen lost by four. At home, they won by six and snapped Robertson's 8-game win streak.
"At their place," said St. Michael's head coach Martin Romero, "we led with 1:30 remaining but let it get away. At home, we led the entire game. Both times we played well enough to win, and I like us playing them again now."
Why not? Why not go against a familiar opponent instead of taking a longer trip elsewhere? Nothing wrong with a round trip on nearby I-25.
"They have a size advantage over us," Romero said, "with one girl taller than Danielle (Vigil is 6-foot-1), but we've had good practices, the girls are confident, and I like our chances."
Defense has been the main weapon for the Lady Horsemen, and against most teams, he said he has his defense concentrating on the other team's best scorer. They have been in close contests both overall and in district, as well as losing its Christmas Holiday tournament final to Espanola Valley.
Now, whoever survives will take on the Socorro (16-12) at West Las Vegas winner in the quarterfinals at the WisePies Arena, alias the UNM Pit.
The Dons finished second in the district, defeated the Cards in the district tournament final, and is the 6th seed at 19-8. They turned back St. Michael's three times during the season, including the district tournament semifinals at home. Socorro is the 11th seed.
If WLV wins, it would be yet another 2-4A match-up. Meanwhile, 3rd seeded Robertson stands at 20-6 and the Lady Horsemen at 13-14.
Then there's 13th seeded Pojoaque Valley (12-14) at 4th seed Portales (16-10), and 16th seed Taos (12-15) takes the road to top-seed, defending state champion Albuquerque Hope Christian (25-2). The Huskies have won 15 in a row.
Sixteen in the field, five from 2-4A, which says a lot for its strength.
Also in 4A, Santa Fe Indian School, which lost in the District 5 final to 8th seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep (17-9), has the 15th seed and brings a 16-9 record to 2nd seeded Shiprock (21-5).
In 6A, there's also plenty of traffic from Districts 1 and 2, with eight of 16 (half the field).
From District 2, Santa Fe High (11-16) received the last seed and takes the long ride to top-seed Hobbs (25-3), which has won 13 straight.
The Demonettes are joined by district foes Albuquerque La Cueva (19-8), the fifth seed which has won its last 15 games, Albuquerque Sandia (23-5), the 7th seed, and Albuquerque Eldorado (19-6), the 6th seed. Clovis and Albuquerque Manzano did not make the field.
District 1 brings in four of its five schools, although like St. Michael's at Robertson, it finds two of them meeting up Friday when 9th seed Volcano Vista (16-10) plays at 8th seed Rio Rancho 17-11). The other two are No. 4 Las Cruces (19-8) and No. 10 Albuquerque Cibola (18-9), which plays at Sandia. Piedra Vista did not make it in.
Carlsbad (27-3), which had won 24 in a row that included a win at home over district rival Hobbs, lost three-straight times to Hobbs and became the 2nd seed. Troublesome could be 3rd seed West Mesa (24-1), which has won 22 in a row and split two games with Hope Christian after its lone defeat to the Huskies.
In District 2 of 5A, 3rd seeded Espanola Valley (19-6), the district champion, 4th seed and runner-up Albuquerque Academy (19-7), and 10th seed Albuquerque Del Norte (14-12) made it in while Los Alamos and Capital were left out. The top seed is Roswell (22-5) and Los Lunas (20-7) is second. The Sundevils will get a visit from 14th seed Aztec (15-13).
In 3A, Pecos (20-7) gained the 7th seed and plays host to 10th seed Loving (15-13), which comes out of one tough district that features top seed Eunice (23-3) and 4th seed Tularosa (21-6), which lost in the state final last year to Texico (19-6), now the 2nd seed which gets a visit from 15th seed Raton (13-11), which lost three time in district to Pecos.
In 2A, head coach Elmer Chavez, who previously coached Santa Fe High's girls while in 4A, has Mescalero Apache (23-6) in at No. 4 and is home for district opponent Pine Hill, the 13th seed at 16-7. The top seed is Tatum (22-5) and Logan is No. 2 at 20-6.