Santa Fe High girls bow out at 6A top seed Hobbs, St. Michael's at Las Vegas Robertson in 4A, Pecos at home to Loving in 3A in Friday's opening round of the state basketball tournament
Santa Fe Indian School routed in 4A at Shiprock
By ARNIE LESHIN
Santa Fe High's girl's basketball team took the long ride to 6A top-seeded Hobbs and were on the losing end of a clinic Friday night.
How good are the surging Eagles? Well, after turning back 2nd seeded district foe Carlsbad three times, and during the regular season defeating the likes of 6A's 4th seeded Las Cruces, twice over top-seed in 5A, Roswell, and also over 4A No. 4 seed, Portales, they're looking like the team on top.
And so the 16th seeded Demonettes had no answers as the Eagles took charge early and emptied their bench early in the 73-27 rout that sent Santa Fe High home after a 11-17 regular season that concluded with this loss in the first round of the state basketball tournament.
Hobbs is now 28-1 and has won 10 in a row. It advances to Tuesday's quarterfinals against 9th seeded Volcano Vista (17-10) at Rio Rancho's Santa Ana Star Center.
In 4A, 14th seed St. Michael's (13-15) took the short trip to district rival and 3rd seed Las Vegas Robertson, and ended its season with a third loss in four meetings versus the Cardinals (21-6), who now take on district runner-up West Las Vegas (20-8), the 6th seed that had a tough first half against 11th seed Socorro (16-13), but rolled to a 65-43 victory to move on to the quarters at the WisePie Arena, alias the UNM Pit.
The Lady Horsemen held their own in the first quarter, trailing 12-8, but then ran into some lengthily shooting draughts to go along with numerous turnovers that included 16 in the first half.
The shots were not falling for St. Michael's in an almost 16-minute span between the second and fourth quarters, as it missed 21 straight shots and turned the ball over a dozen times.
Because of this, Robertson led 24-15 at halftime and 35-22 after three quarters. The Lady Horsemen were only outscored 16-15 in the final eight minutes, but the contest was already lost.
Alianza Darley, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, led the way for the home team with a game-high 19 points and hurt St. Michael's with breakaway layups after steals, and accounted for nine of her points in the fourth quarter to seal matters.
In her final game, Lady Horsemen senior Jocelyn Fernandez had a team-high 17 points to cap a stellar four years on the court. She leaves with the girl's school record 43 points established last season. A five-sport athlete, she now winds down by rotating between track and field and softball.
Six-foot senior post Danielle Vigil finished with seven points before fouling out, and reserve Halley Garcia tossed in five points that included her team's lone 3-pointer as it missed on 9 of 10 attempts from that distance.
In 3A, 7th seeded Pecos (20-8) played host to 10th seed Loving, and as head Panthers' coach, Ron Drake, had feared, Loving (16-13) trailed by one after the first quarter, but led 34-26 at halftime and took charge after that by outscoring Pecos, 31-22 in the final two quarters.
Loving, which plays in a tough district that includes top-seeded Eunice (24-3) and 4th seeded Tularosa (22-6), now faces 2nd seed and defending state champion Texico (20-6), which overwhelmed 15th seed Raton, 59-40, to gain the quarterfinals to be played at the Santa Ana Star Center.
In 5A, 3rd seeded Espanola Valley (20-6) came close to being upset by visiting 14th seed Aztec (15-14), which kept up the entire game before falling 35-30, as the Sundevils took a deep breath and prepared for 11th seeded Gallup (14-14) at the WisePies Arena, alias the UNM Pit.
This is probably the opponent Espanola preferred after losing in the quarters last year by 20 points to Gallup, which advanced by surprising 6th seeded Albuquerque St. Pius X, on the road to end the Sartans' season at 19-10.
Albuquerque Academy (20-7), which placed second in the Sundevils' district, got a real scare from 13th seed Farmington (11-16) before winning at home, 39-35, in two overtimes. The Chargers now go against 7th seed Roswell Goddard (18-9), a much-improved program after some dismal recent years, and which won handily, 77-40, over 12th seed Artesia (13-14).
But Albuquerque Del Norte, third in district, wound up at 14-13 by falling at 7th seeded Kirtland Central, 53-42.
St. Michael's wasn't the only school in its district 2 to lose. The others were visiting 13th seeded Pojoaque Valley (12-15) losing to 4th seed Portales (17-10, and 16th seed Taos (12-16) routed by top seed and two-time defending state champion Albuquerque Hope Chrisitan, 53-27, on the road.
Santa Fe Indian School, which plays in District 5 of 4A, ended up at 16-10 after falling, 64-38, at 2nd seeded Shiprock (22-5).
In 2A, former Santa Fe High head girl's coach, Elmer Chavez, guided his 4th seeded Mescalero Apache (24-6) past visiting13th seed and district foe Pine Hill (16-7) by a 62-37 score.
The Chiefs now play 8th seed Fort Sumner-House (20-9), which won, 61-46, over 11th seed Dora (18-11) in the quarters at Bernalillo High School.
Upsets were few, although the 8th seeds lost four times to the visiting 9th seeds. There was Volcano Vista (17-10) over Rio Rancho, 45-40, in 6A, Lovington (14-16) over Bloomfield, 50-49, in 5A, Dulce (16-9) over Cuba, 55-50, in 3A, and in 2A Mora (16-13) turned back Ramah, 52-36.
Nine over eight is not unexpected, but 10th seed Navajo Prep (15-9) over 7th seed Silver (19-5) was a surprise with the 50-44 result in 4A.
Only in Class A were there no upsets as the eight top seeds moved on to the quarters. Of course the team to beat in that class is 7-time state champion Elida (25-5), which has won it six-straight times. In that span, it has won 192 of 226 games.
In 6A, 3rd seeded Albuquerque West Mesa (25-1) held on to defeat Onate, 58-55, in a game played at Rio Grande High due to the water system problem at the Mustangs' home court.
They have now won 23 straight and next meet 6th seeded Albuquerque Eldorado (20-6), a 40-36 winner over 11th seed Mayfield, 40-36, as both came away with tight finishes.
The Mustangs, though, played without injured starting 5-6 sophomore point guard Esperanza Varoz, who leads the team in scoring, scoring average, assists and rebounds. She has also made good on 100 of 112 free throws.
One hundred and 55 schools in the state and 48 remain in the state tournament. That will be sliced in half after Tuesday's quarterfinals.