By Arnie Leshin
If it sounds like a rerun, you can call it that, but here comes Albuquerque Manzano’s boy’s basketball to Santa Fe again.
Can’t blame the New Mexico Activities Association. It doesn’t think of it that way, it only announces the schools qualifying for the state tournament. That includes the Monarchs, who finished second in District 5-5A after losing the playoff game for the top spot against Santa Fe High, and at the Capital High court.
But think about Capital. It placed third in the district, defeated Manzao home and away the past two weeks, than lost to the Demons in the district tournament final at the Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium. That meant that the 21-9 Jaguars weregiven the 13th seed, and the 14-12 Monarchs received No. 12 for finishing ahead of Capital in district.
No doubt this is going to get Manzano head coach Dominic Romero upset again. He didn’t like losing three times in three days in Santa Fe, but he didn’t take care of business when the Jags traveled to his place the following week. With two of its best players sidelined, Capital hit the road and still won.
So now it is 5th seeded Santa Fe High welcoming the Monarchs in Saturday night’s opening round. As for the Jaguars, they are hopeful of getting juniors Sean Arroyos and TJ Sanchez back for their game the same night at 4th seeded Albuquerque Eldorado.
As for Manzano, it has to figure out a way to win in the City Different.
Then there’s 3A where District two has its champion, St. Michael’s, as the No. 1 seed and it will play host to No. 16 Thoreau.
In 4A, Los Lunas is the top seed, Espanola Valley is No. 5 and Taos, which turned back the Sundevils in the district tournament final, is the 9th seed.
In 2A, Newcomb had been ranked first overall, but Pecos gets the top seed as it seeks a third straight state title, this time in 2A after winning the last two in 3A.
There will be surprises, they are always showing up. Let’s say you are favored and matching up with a low seed that is unfamiliar to you, and if you take it lightly, your season is over. It’s happened.
But don’t bet on 16th seed Artesia getting past tournament-tested Los Lunas. Same with 16th seed Monte del Sol knocking out Pecos, No. 16 Thoreau winning at St. Michael’s, or Albuquerque Volcano Vista coming up short versus No. 16 Carlsbad.
These top seeded schools are there for a reason, and the opposition is there to fill the 16-team field. But down the line is where surprises can occur.
BOY’S FIRST ROUND SCHEDULE:
5A – (16) Carlsbad at (1) Volcano Vista
(9) Hobbs at (8) Clovis
(12) Manzano at (5) Santa Fe High
(14) Gadsden at (3) Rio Rancho
(11) Roswell at (6) Atrisco Heritage
(10) La Cueva at (7) Rio Rancho Cleveland
(15) Onate at (2) Las Cruces
4A – (16) Artesia at (1) Los Lunas
(9) Taos at (8) Valencia
(12) Del Norte at (5) Espanola Valley
(13) Bernalillo at (4) Gallup
(14) Ruidoso at (3) Silver
(11) Portales at ( 6) Goddard
(10) Highland at (7) Valley
(15) Miyamura at (2) Hope Christian
3A — (16) Thoreau at (1) St. Michael’s
(9) Bosque School at (8) West Las Vegas
(12) East Mountain at (5) Cuba
(13) NMMI at (4) Santa Fe Indian School
(14) Tularosa at (3) Hot Springs
(11) Robertson at (6) Wingate
(10) Dexter at (7) Navajo Prep
(15) Cobre at (2) Sandia
2A — (16) Monte del Sol at (1) Pecos
(9) Estancia at (8) Magdalena
(12) Eunice at (5) Mora
(13) Menaul at (4) Texico
(14) Tse’ Ti’ Gal at (3) Newcomb
(11) Escalante at (6) McCurdy
(10) Rehoboth at (7) Mesilla Valley
(15 Jal at (2) Santa Rosa