by Arnie Leshin
Quite a senior season for Capital High’s Antonio “T.J.” Sanchez.
Along the way to the state 5A championship game, the 5-foot-11 wing surpassed the school’s career scoring record held by All-State Terence Mirabal when he graduated in 2002. Eighteen years later it belongs to Sanchez, as well as praise from Mirabal.
Now he is honored by being selected to the All-State First Team, and that was achieved by yet another stellar campaign.
Santa Fe High junior Fedonta “J.B.” White landed on the Second Team, and he, too, deserved the honor. Number 1 played wing, small forward and power forward, and At 6-7he was the team’s go-to-guy, both in the paint and from outside. He was the leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker. He displayed a good outside shot that included the 3, and his only problem was foul trouble, and that sometimes had him riding the bench.
As for Sanchez, whose team played White’s team seven times, he played in 30 games, turned in an average of 20 points per game, brought down 4.3 rebounds, handed out 2.6 assists, made 3.3 steals, and played 27.4 minutes a game.
Behind ‘T.J.” and an experienced cast of seniors, the Jaguars soared to a 28-5 overall record, 9-1 in District 5-5A, and won the district tournament. Not only was Sanchez up there in every factor of the game, he also provided stellar team leadership.
Pecos came away with its fourth straight state championship, and came away with three of its starting five on the All-State First Team.
For 6-1 senior Xavier Padilla, it was a second-straight time. The forward led the team with 18.5 points a game, scrubbed the boards for 3.8, and dished out 3.1 assists, as he wound up four seasons with four state titles. He did whatever he could to spark the Panthers.
For 6-3 senior post Ismael Villegas, it was a first time after he averaged 16.5 points per game, brought down 4.8 rebounds and was extra strong in the paint, as well as a quality defender, and he’s come a long way after making varsity his junior year.
For 5-9 senior point guard Anthony Armijo, it was quite an honor as he, too, played on all four championship teams. Armijo ran the show as a point guard and was a very capable outside shooter, and that includes from 3-point range. In this season’s stretch run, he really came through in a big way with big shots that included 3s and from the perimeter.
These three and some of the other Panthers went 83-7 over the first three years of hoisting the championship trophy, the first two in 3A and the next two in 2A. They also dominated District 7 through these four seasons, and came up with 112 wins and only one defeat in that span.
St. Michael’s 6-foot sophomore Devin Flores was named to the Second Team. He got better as the season went on, averaged 17.3 points a game, took down 4.2 rebounds, and was the savior in late season games when the Horsemen needed points, rebounds, assists and steals.