By Arnie Leshin
There was one upset in Tuesday’s girls quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament, and it took place at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
And it was quite a surprise when 11th seeded Clayton of District 7-2A ousted 3rd seeded Newcomb, 63-51, for its second straight win in the tournament, the other coming over 6th seeded Texico in the first round at the Wolverines.
This time the Yellow Jackets (16-13) took the court before defending state champion 7th Pecos faced 2nd seeded Mescalero Apache in a rematch of last year’s final won by the Panthers in overtime.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” said second-year Clayton head coach Justin Daugherty, first we knocked out Texico, and during the regular season we won over Pecos at our place. We played real well in that game and in our last two starts. We play Mescalero next in the semis, and they are good, but we will come to play.”
The other team left from the district where the Yellow Jackets finished third. It’s a program that has brought on the Crisp family. Until 2013-14, there were none, but in 2015 along came Amber and Mason, who graduated last year. Then came McKinlee, now a senior, along with Mandy, now a junior, coming aboard this season was Morgan, now a freshman.
Well, all three figured in this stunner. Young Morgan only scored two points, but McKinlee tossed in 10, and Mandy, the team’s leading scorer, led the way with 26, five coming from the foul line in the final minutes. Newcomb was down by 10 and turned to committing personal fouls. But it didn’t work as Mandy converted five of six, McKinlee two of two, and senior Kaylee Mitchell, who scored a dozen, added one freebie.
“Great team effort,” Daugherty said. “When they started to foul us, we just put the ball in the hands of Mandy, McKinlee, and then Kaylee, because they are our most capable foul shooters.”
With two minutes showing on the scoreboard clock, Newcomb, which won 23 of 28 games, trailed 55-49. Then it applied defensive pressure that also brought fouls. First Mandy went to the line and made a pair of charity tosses, then added two more and increased the lead to 59-49. Newcomb responded with a basket, but then fouled McKinlee and she added two more free throws and it was 61-51, and the Yellow Jackets began to celebrate.
Senior Callie Bates contributed 13 points and handed out four assists. Mitchell brought down nine rebounds, two more than McKinlee, and Morgan came away with three steals.
No other surprises. Also in 2A, top seeded Penasco (27-2) rolled over 9th seeded Rehoboth Christian, 63-28, and 4th seeded Lordsburg (22-6) handily turned back 5th seeded Magdalena, 74-43.
In 3A, No. 1 seed Navajo Prep (24-2) got past 9th seeded Tucumcari, 67-54, No. 2 Tularosa (22-4) dominated defending state champion Robertson, the 10th seed, 78-52, 3rd seeded Tohoachi (22-5) disposed of 6th seed Santa Fe Indian School, 56-39, and 4th seeded West Las Vegas (20-8) eliminated 5th seeded Hatch Valley, 60-47.
In 4A, top seeded Los Lunas (23-4) overwhelmed 9th seed Bloomfield, 62-35, 2nd seeded Kirtland Central (22-5) won a tough test over 10th seed Gallup, 61-54, 3rd seeded Portales (22-7) got past the challenge of 6th seeded Bernalillo, 63-54, and 4th seeded Albuquerque Highland (19-7) ousted 5th seed Pojoaque Valley, 65-55.
In 5A, another No. 1 seed advanced when Hobbs (25-1) didn’t have it easy before handing 8th seeded Carlsbad a 49-38 setback, 2nd seeded Piedra Vista (26-3) turned back No. 10 Farmington, 68-51, 3rd seeded Albuquerque Volcano Vista (24-2), exited Las Cruces Centennial, the 6th seed, 56-40, and 4th seeded Albuquerque La Cueva (25-2) won 73-54 over 5th seeded Mayfield.
The 1A girls play today at Bernalillo High School.
The boys take the court today at Bernalillo, Santa Ana Star Center, and at the Dreamstyle Arena at University of New Mexico. In 5A, Capital is the 2nd seed and Santa Fe High the 3rd.
In 3A, St. Michael’s is the 6th seed and District 2 also has 4th seeded Robertson taking on cross town rival West Las Vegas, the 5th seed.
In 2A, 3-time defending state champion Pecos is in quest of another one and is 109-8 over the last four years, 26-1 this season with 22 straight wins, and with the only loss to 5A Santa Fe High.