Demons have Albuquerque schools, Manzano and Eldorado, Horsemen have big test Friday night at West Las Vegas, Jaguars face Academy and Los Alamos
By Arnie Leshin
What’s happening in the final week before the district basketball tournaments roll around?
Well, it will certainly include important games that will put the respective standings in the order laid out for the tournament, and from there the New Mexico Activities Association will announce the field for both girls and boys the following weekend. All district champions receive an automatic berth.
Which means that in 2-6A boys, Santa Fe High has two key games, the first tonight at Albuquerque Manzano, and the second is Saturday at home to first place Albuquerque Eldorado.
The Demons are all even at 12-12 overall and all even at 4-4 in district. And so the contest against Manzano (13-9, 5-3) could get them into a tie for third place.
But the next test versus Eldorado (20-2, 8-0) will be difficult, although
Santa Fe High will be playing at its Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium and Eldorado has already clinched first place, so it might not be playing at its best that night. But first comes Manzano.
In boy’s 2-4A, St. Michael’s owns an 11-14 overall record, but has a 4-3 record in district and a genuine shot to finish second behind frontrunner Taos (15-10, 6-1). It won the earlier contest at home against West Las Vegas (12-12, 3-3) and needs to win at the Dons Friday night.
The Horsemen split with Las Vegas Robertson (9-15, 3-3) and lost both times to Taos in two overtimes. WLV has struggled down the stretch and the Cardinals are now playing their best ball. St. Michael’s has been up and down, but would like the runner-up spot and a chance to play host for the district semifinals while the Tigers probably will await the winner.
As for Capital High in 2-5A, it has fallen behind Albuquerque Del Norte by dropping its last two starts and stands at 3-3 in district and 18-6 overall.
Wednesday night, the Jaguars are at Albuquerque Academy and Saturday at home to Los Alamos. They have already rolled over the Chargers (6-17, 2-5) by 47 points on the road, but the Hilltoppers lost by only six points at home against Capital, but they have also lost eight in a row and are 0-6 in district and 9-15 overall.
Undefeated and No. 1 in 5A, Espanola Valley stands at 22-1 overall, 6-0 in district and on a seven-game win streak. It has turned back Capital twice with big second halves, but Del Norte has been a problem for the Sundevils. Espanola won a close game over the Knights (52-47) in Albuquerque and now plays host to them Saturday night, but first it heads to Los Alamos for a Wednesday night contest.
Del Norte is 10-13 overall and 5-2 in district, but was at .500 last season and made it into the state semifinals before losing to Roswell, the eventual state champion. It lost by 7 and 11 points last season to Espanola, but ousted the Sundevils, 77-67, in the state tournament.
That’s it. If teams finish in a tie for first place, there would be a playoff game Monday at a neutral court. Otherwise, ties would be broken by how these teams fared against one another.
A team that gains the district tournament final but did not finish on top during the regular season, will not get an automatic state tournament berth. Seeding is mostly decided on what occurred during the regular season. But at the same time, whoever wins the district tournament will advance to state.