Broken foot in basketball practice cancels St. Michael's forward Luke Archuleta for post-season as Horsemen hosts Wingate Saturday at 3 p.m. in 4A state tournament
Archuleta was the top scorer and a big loss; while Capital is home to Gallup in 5A, Pecos home to Tucumcari in 3A, Santa Fe High at Albuquerque Eldorado in 5A
By ARNIE LESHIN
It wasn't what you wanted to hear from long-time St. Michael's head coach Ron Geyer.
It was the news that his leading scorer, 6-foot-1 senior forward Luke Archuleta, broke his foot In Tuesday's practice for Saturday afternoon's state tournament first round visit from Wingate.
It was no doubt a blow to the Horsemen's post-season, with Archuleta having to be removed from the official roster after being part of the program since 8th grade.
"He came down on another player's foot," said assistant coach Gerald Garcia. "and we knew it was bad."
Bad enough to lose his experience, his scoring, his rebounding, defense and leadership in this his final year. Now he's reduced to viewing the game((s) from the sideline.
Seventh-seeded St. Michael's, all even at 14-14 ,still has 6-3 senior post Adam Tupler, but after that the only real size belongs to inexperienced 6-6 junior post Devin Ritschel and 6-3 sophomore post Connor Glatz. Archuleta led the team in scoring at 14.5 and was second to Tupler in rebounding.
Now Tupler becomes the lone inside strength and the guard play will depend even more on 5-10 senior guard Thomas Pacheco and 5-10 sophomore Javon Montoya. Also probably getting more play will be 6-foot junior guard Antonio Gabaldon.
As for 10th seeded Wingate, it has the better record (15-12), but the Horsemen played a tougher schedule that included District 2 with Las Vegas Robertson, Las Vegas, Pojoaque Valley and Taos. Still, 7 versus 10 almost always results in a close game.
The Bears won District 1 at 6-0 and have won eight in a row, mostly all close games as occurred with St. Michael's down the stretch. Three of the wins came over district foe Navajo Prep, the 14th seed at state, and two over district foe Shiprock, the 15th seed.
Against Prep, it was by two points, by three points, and by seven points. It was even tighter versus the Chiefs with one and two-point victories. Prior to this streak, Wingate owned a 7-12 record prior to district play.
Half of the Bears' 14-player roster lists seniors, with the backcourt run by 5-8 senior point guard Brandon Belone and 5-10 junior guard David Juan.
Their strength inside comes from 6-4 senior forward Pacen Sandoval, and there's also 6-1 junior Leon Alonzo, the team captain, who is tough underneath.
A glance at their points for and points against is puzzling. They have scored 1,441 and allowed 1,506. St. Michael's has tossed in a 1,282 and yielded 1,169.
Against common opponents, Wingate is 1-4, with the lone win a 2-0 forfeit versus Taos after the Tigers reported an ineligible player. The same player did not play against the Horsemen, Taos won 51-49, and that was its only triumph after having to forfeit all others.
Regarding close calls, against the other three teams that the Bears lost to by 19, 20 and 21 points, St. Michael's lost three times in contests that went down to the final buzzer, and also won twice in tight games. In its last four defeats, it lost by a total of nine points, with its lone win by four. On two other occasions, the Horsemen fell by three points.
If they advance past Wingate, they take on the Shiprock (11-16) at 2nd seeded Portales (22-4) winner in the quarterfinals at the Rio Rancho Santa Ana Star Center. The semifinals will be at the WisePies Arena, alias the Pit.
Meanwhile, in 6A 13th seeded Santa Fe High (17-10) takes to the road to play district rival Albuquerque Eldorado (19-6), the 4th seed. The Demons lost both times to Eldorado during the regular season and finished second in District 1.
In other classes, high seeds went to No. 1 Pecos (25-1) in 3A, and to 2nd seeded Capital High (22-5) in 5A.
The Panthers have won 25 in a row and will be home to 16th seed Tucumcari (8-16).
The Jaguars play host to 15th seeded Gallup (11-16) after winning District 2 with back-to-back wins over 4th seeded Espanola Valley (20-8), which opens at home against 13th seeded district opponent Albuquerque Del Norte (13-14).
Also in 5A, 14th seeded Los Alamos (13-14) heads to 3rd seeded Farmington (13-14).
Also in 4A, 6th seeded Pojoaque Valley (16-12) hosts 11th seeded Moriarty (14-13), Robertson (16-8) is the 4th seed and hosts 13th seed Albuquerque Sandia Prep (13-14), while 5th seed Las Vegas (18-8) goes against visiting Ruidoso (15-14), the 12th seed. All but Taos made state from District 2.
And in 3A, Desert Academy (15-11) comes in as the 13th seed and plays at 4th seed Dulce (19-6). Dulce won District 2 and The Wildcats finished second in District 3 behind Pecos.