Top seeded boys Bernalillo in 4A and Espanola Valley in 5A lose in finals, the Spartans to defending champions Albuquerque Hope Christian, the Sundevils to 3rd seeded Belen Fort Sumner-House wins girls and boys 2A championships
By Arnie Leshin
Another state basketball tournament brought the usual victories and tears, but for 2A Fort Sumner it came away with an unprecedented parley when both its girls and boys hoisted the blue trophy at the Dreamstyle Arena at UNM’s Pit, on Friday and on Saturday.
After the Vixen girls carried off a 49-38 triumph over Penasco on Friday, they had to wait until the 6 p.m. Saturday tip-off to cheer on the boys, who won state for the first time in a 56-53 thriller over Menual. Both were handed the 4th seed, and both had a House attached.
That’s right, when neighboring House High could not field enough players and had to drop its basketball program, Fort Sumner decided to meet with the House athletic staff and from there, it became two for one, Fort Sumner/House.
Because of this courtesy, both schools were able to share not one, but two state championships. For the Vixen girls, it was their sixth in seven finals, and for the boys its first in four finals.
The two schools are situated southeast of Albuquerque and not far from the Texas border. Not they have to decide what to do with two trophies, one for the girls and one for the boys, but for sure, it will be hoisted in House, too.
House also shares the other Vixen \teams, volleyball for the girls and football for the boys. Oh, and Ft. Sumner is on Sumner Avenue, can House High be on House Street?
Los Lunas’ girls, the top seed in 5A, the Moriarty girls, the 3rd seed in 4A,
and Texico, the top-seed in 3A girls, also had both genders in the field, but the Wildcat girls won Friday and their boys lost on Saturday. As for the Pintos, they went 0-2 as both came up short in the semifinals, and the wolverines were successful in a tight 48-47 win over last year’s champions from Tohatchi, but the previously unbeaten boys fell to Pecos.
For the 4A top-seeded Bernalillo boys and the top-seeded Espanola Valley boys, their impressive seasons came to an abrupt half when six-time defending 4A champion Albuquerque Hope Christian, the 3rd seed, never let the startled Spartans make a run, and handily won 81-52 in only the second loss for Bernalillo.
It was Belen that had the previous win over the undefeated Spartans, and now the 3rd seeded Eagles won their first basketball title by stunning an Espanola team that also came in with only one setback. But Belen finished with 9-straight wins and wrapped up the Sundevils, 73-65.
It was a bitter defeat for Espanola, which as usual, made for a full house at the Dreamstyle Arena at the UNM. Its fans were their usual loud and confident, but the smaller Eagle turnout were the ones to celebrate.
In 6A, it was a clash of top-seed Albuquerque Cibola and 2nd seed Hobbs, with Hobbs taking the title in a 64-55 overtime win. In their previous contest during the regular-season, it was Cibola winning, 63-59, in four overtimes.
In 3A, defending champion Pecos came in as the 3rd seed and top-seeded Texico lost for the first time, as the Panthers triumphed 60-44.
In the girl’s championships, joining Texico was Portales, the top-seed in 4A, turning back Moriarty, 50-39, and in 1A, Melrose topped Maxwell, 50-37. The 6A winner was 3rd seeded Albuquerque Atrisco Heriatge over 4th seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland, 53-49.
All the winners celebrated while the losers in the finals should be proud to advance that far in the final weekend. For Fort Sumner/House, it was a double dose celebration for both schools.