Class 2A Magdelena undefeated in state as Santa Fe High plays at Eldorado in 6A, Capital hosts Gallup in 5A, St. Michael's greets Wingate in 4A, Pecos is home to Tucumcari in 3A
Panthers a top seed, Jaguars a No. 2, Horsemen a 7th seed, Demons at No. 13, same as Desert Academy in 3A
By ARNIE LESHIN
What does Magdelena's boys basketball team have in common with the University of Connecticut women's team?
While Geno Auriemma's Huskies are the only undefeated team remaining in Division 1, New Mexico also has one unbeaten team, and it's the 2A Steers with a modest 27 in a row compared to UConn's 30 this season and a record 104 dating back to a second-game overtime loss in 2014 at Stanford.
Magdelena, whose only state championship was in the 2014-15 season when it did not lose in 31 starts, had only two close calls this time, one in the 62-61 overtime win at Class A's top-ranked Quemondo (25-2), the other a 74-72 double overtime squeaker over Class A's Maxwell (24-3).
That's it, no other game has been close in Jory Mirabal's 11th season as head coach. It opens the state tournament Saturday hosting 16th seed Cliff (14-14), and the second-seed Lordsburg (25-2) is home to 15th seed Gateway Christian (14-12). Magdelena and Lordsburg have not met this campaign and are hoping to wind up in the March 11th final at the UNM Pit.
Nice to give some space to one of those small schools that are only written up in the local and area newspapers.
As for the big schools, 6A has Santa Fe High (17-10) in the field as the 13th seed and it again meets up with District 2 champion, 4th seeded Albuquerque Eldorado (19-6) on the road when the boys get underway Saturday night. In the two previous meetings, Eldorado won handily against the runner-up Demons.
The winner here gets the Rio Rancho High-Albuquerque Volcano Vista survivor in the quarterfinals at the UNM Pit on Nov. 8. The 8th seeded Rams are 20-8 and 12th seeded Volcano Vista is 14-12.
In 5A, Capital High (22-5) comes in as the 2nd seed against visiting 13th seed Gallup (11-16) after winning both the 2-5A regular and district tournament over defending state champion Espanola Valley, the 4th seed at 20-8 and playing host to district rival Albuquerque Del Norte (13-14), the 13th seed.
In last year's state final, the Sundevils won over the Jaguars in their fifth match-up of the season. Now, they have already played each other four times.
A Capital win would move it into the quarterfinals at the UNM Pit versus the Albuquerque St. Pius X (14-12)-Alamagordo (19-8) winner. The Sartans are the 10th seed and host Alamagordo is 7th.
In 4A, St. Michael's, all even at 14-14, made it in as the 7th seed, and will be home to 10th seeded Wingate (15-12). Notable here is Wingate with the better record, but the Horsemen played in District 2, one of the strongest in the state in that class.
Also in the field from that same district is No. 4 Las Vegas Robertson (16-8), No. 5 West Las Vegas (18-8) and No. 6 Pojoaque Valley (16-12). Taos might have made it but had to forfeit all but one of its games.
A St. Michael's triumph would send it against the Shiprock at 2nd seeded Portales (22-4) winner in the quarterfinals at the Rio Rancho Santa Ana Star Center. Shiprock is 11-16 and is the 15th seed.
Then there's 3A where streaking Pecos (25-1) is the top seed on a 25-game win skein after losing the opener to West Las Vegas.
The Panthers will be hosting 16th seed Tucumcari (8-16), with the victor heading for the quarterfinals versus the Dexter (18-9) at Eunice (14-12) winner. Eunice is the 8th seed, Dexter No. 9. Tucumcari just beat out Santa Fe Prep for the final seed.
This quarters will be contested at either Rio Rancho High or Rio Rancho Cleveland.
Also in the 3A field is Desert Academy (15-11), the 13th seed that heads for 4th seeded Dulce (19-6).
Dulce joins the schools carrying current win streaks with nine in a row. Then there's Fort Sumner-House with 13, Mora with 11, Farmington and Newcomb with 10, Roswell and Los Lunas with eight, Rio Rancho with seven, and Las Cruces with six.
As for the small schools, they're up on top here.