Panthers dominate visiting Raton, 78-22, Thursday night to stretch their latest win streak to seven and with three
more games until the district 2 tournament
By Arnie Leshin
After handily disposing of visiting Raton Thursday night, Pecos’ defending state 3A champion boy’s basketball team can look down the road.
At 23-3 and with its seventh straight win after the 78-22 romp at Louis G. Sanchez Memorial gymnasium, Panthers’ head coach Ira Harge, Jr., is not overconfident, he knows it won’t be easy to ring up a second-straight championship.
It’s not that Pecos isn’t as good as last year, but there’s the likes of Texico, Estancia and Santa Rosa in quest of the same trophy.
In fact, undefeated Texico is 23-0. Last season it was eliminated at state by Santa Rosa. Estancia, with 11 in a row and at 22-1 with its lone loss to Santa Rosa, also had its season end in the state tournament, also to Santa Rosa.
And in the title game, it was Pecos over Santa Rosa, which is now 15-6, but still a threat. Ask Estancia. Ask Texico.
Now counting the 23 in a row by the Wolverines, the 11 in a row by the Bears, and the Panthers’ seven-straight, it totals 40 wins in a row by these three schools.
And one of Pecos’ defeats came at the hands of Estancia, 83-72. The other two were to 6A Santa Fe High, 66-65, and ended the Panthers’ 30-game win streak carrying over from last season, and to Bernalillo, the number one team in 4A. But they do have a win over 5A Capital.
The contest to keep an eye on will be played Saturday when Texico plays at Santa Rosa, its nemesis that it played four times last season and split the series. But the Wolverines did top the Bears earlier this season. This game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.
Pecos will also meet up again with Santa Rosa, with it scheduled Tuesday night in Pecos. It’s the first time they meet up this season. Then they face district foes Desert Academy, which has been undermanned all season and is 0-16, and ATC, which is 8-14. After this, the Panthers don’t play again until they host the district tournament championship.
As does Pecos, Texico plays a tough slate. It has victories over 4A Portales, 5A Ruidoso and 3A Newcomb, which is now 16-7 and has won its last eight starts. And Estancia, well it did defeat Pecos, and by 11 points, whereas the Panthers only lost by one to Santa Fe High and by three to Bernalillo.
Also up there in 3A is Cuba at 19-4, Newcomb and Santa Fe Prep (11-6), which has won five in a row and 12 of 13.
And so it’s truly the stretch run.
Pecos has got to remain as the favorite. It has the experience of winning its first state hoops title, and it is just as tough as last year. Plus, it has a well-balanced lineup. Not to say that Harge, Jr., isn’t confident, but he knows the road could have bumps.
The Panthers can call on 6-foot seniors Mario Archuleta and Carlos Cordova, 5-11 junior Omar Dominguez, 5-10 senior Josh DeHerrera, 5-11 senior Michael Montano, 6-2 senior Christian Anaya, 6-foot sophomore Xavier Padilla, 6-2 sophomore Ismael Villegas, 5-9 sophomore Anthony Armijo, and team captain Jacob Varela, a 5-7 senior.