Coach Elmer Chavez has Mescalero Apache on top of 2A rankings not long after guiding Santa Fe High's girls to 2012 state 4A
Chiefs' loses have been by one point twice and by two points as the program is seeing its best days
By ARNIE LESHIN
Another first for Mescalero Apache High School girl's basketball program.
In its second year under well-traveled head coach Elmer Chavez, it comes off its first state tournament home game, gaining the state quarterfinals for only the second time, and posting its best-ever record (21-6), the Chiefs now rest on top the 2A rankings as never before.
Also the school's athletic director, Chavez took up residence at the small school three hours and 200 miles just south of Ruidoso after coaching Santa Fe High's girls to the state 4A championship in 2012.
His Chiefs have won 17 of 20 games, 15 in a row after opening with a surprise one-point loss at Santa Fe's Tierra Encantada, which it romped over in a rematch.
The losses, by 48-46 to Tierra Encantada, 48-47 to Dexter to end the long winning skein, and by 51-50 to Pine Hill, all thisclose to landing in the win column. The Chiefs are 2-0 in District 2-3A.
Saturday night is their next game, a district meeting at home against Cliff, which it rolled over 34-21 in the previous contest between them. Cliff is 13-8 overall and 2-1 in district, and once one of the better small-school programs in the state with all 14 years winning ones, and three state titles.
Up in these parts, Capital High's girls hope to end their 8-game losing streak when it plays a District 2-5A game at Los Alamos tonight.
Overall, the Jaguars are 3-18. In district they are 0-3. The Hilltoppers got away to a good start, but are now 6-15 overall and 1-1 in district.
Also in 2-5A, Albuquerque Del Norte travels to defending district champion Espanola Valley. The Sundevils' are 1-1 in district, with the loss coming at district newcomer Albuquerque Academy, and are 13-5 overall. The Knights are 11-8 overall and 2-1 in district.
In 2-4A at St. Michael's, the Lady Horsemen figure to have a tough test against West Las Vegas as they stand at 9-10 overall and 1-2 in district. The Dons are 14-7 overall and 1-2 in district.
Also in 2-4A, it's Pojoaque Valley at Las Vegas Robertson, with the Cardinals sporting a 17-3 overall mark with seven-straight wins and 3-0 in district. The Elkettes have played well, going 2-1 in district and 10-10 overall.
Friday night, it's Academy in a rematch at the Sundevils. The Chargers are 3-1 in district after being upset by Los Alamos, and 15-5 overall. Espanola is 13-5, 1-1, and out to avenge the Academy defeat.
Saturday in 2-6A finds Santa Fe High home to Albuquerque Sandia. The Demonettes are 9-12 overall and 2-3 in district. Sandia stands at 14-4 and 2-2.
In 2-4A, first place Robertson visits St. Michael's and Taos is at Pojoaque. The Tigers are in last place at 1-3 and is 11-11 overall. In 2-5A, it's Del Norte heading up to Los Alamos.
Up on top the rankings in 4A is defending state champion Albuquerque Hope Christian at 16-5 and on a 9-game win streak. Right behind is Robertson at 17-3 with nine wins in a row, Hatch Valley at 16-4, and Silver at 15-5 and on an 8-game win streak.
In 5A, Roswell is at 17-4, Shiprock at 17-5, Silver at 15-5 and on an 8-game win streak, Bloomfield at 14-4, Academy, St. Pius X at 14-5 and Espanola in the chase.
In 3A, Eunice holds the top rank at 17-3 and has won nine in a row. Tucumcari is 15-5, Tularosa at 15-5, defending state champion Texico at 15-6, and Pecos trying to gain ground while at 12-7.
In 6A, undefeated Carlsdad is 22-0 and the lone undefeated team in the state after turning back visiting, previous unbeaten district foe Hobbs, which is now 19-1.
Surprising Albuquerque West Mesa has won 16 in a row and sports a 19-1 record. Then comes Albuquerque schools La Cueva at 16-4, and Eldorado and Sandia at 15-4.
Behind Mescalero Apache is Logan (16-3), Magdalena (16-5), and Tatum (14-5).
And Capital is not the only school on a losing streak, with others having even longer draughts.
There's Gadsden at 4-17 and with 13 straight setbacks, Hot Springs winless in 18 starts, Santa Fe Prep winless in 14, Ruidoso at 4-17 and losers of 10 in a row, Crownpoint at 2-13 with 10-straight loses, and Questa at 2-13 with nine consecutive defeats.
Of course it's only a game.