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Pecos, the No. 1 seed, had an easy time gaining the 2A Wednesday quarterfinals

By Arnie Leshin
Not only did the surging No. 1 seeded Pecos boys have no problem advancing to the state 2A quarterfinals, but they brought district rivals Santa Rosa and Texico in with them.
The three-time state champions moved on in quest of a fourth title by trouncing visiting 16th seeded Estancia, 97-66, to up their record to 26-1 and their winning streak to. And two of the other brackets had the 3rd seeded Lions (20-8) and the 7th seeded Wolverines (15-9) getting to Wednesday’s quarters at Santa Ana Star Casino, Santa Rosa getting past 14th seed Mescalero Apache, 59-39, and Texico downing 10th seed Navajo Pine, 64-54.
Not bad for District 7 except that Texico will now have to face 2nd seeded Magdalena (26-0), the only undefeated team in the state. Santa Rosa gets 6th seed Jal, and Pecos 9th seed Rehoboth Christian, which defeated 8th seeded Dulce, 51-42, on the road.
Pecos’ winning streak after the 8-point loss to 5A Santa Fe High is now at 22. It was the second time it routed Estancia, and this time senior Xavier Padilla scored 29 of his game-high 31 in the first half, senior Anthony Armijo added 21 points that included five 3s, and 12 Panthers made the scoring column. They led 31-13 after one quarter, 59-30 at halftime, and made good on 13 of 33 attempts from 3-point range.
In 5A, 2nd seeded Capital (26-4) dominated 15th seeded visiting Las Cruces Centennial, 73-36, and 3rd seeded Santa Fe High (23-5) had a tough first half versus 14th seeded Carlsbad before prevailing 59-45.
The Jaguars now meet up in the quarterfinals against 10th seeded Albuquerque (23-8), which took to the road and surprised 7th seeded Hobbs, 89-88, in a real nail biter that went down to the final buzzer.
The Demons get a rematch with 6th seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland after the Storm (27-8) won the city clash over 11th seeded Rio Rancho High, 66-55.
In another 5A upset, 12th seeded Albuquerque Volcano Vista (24-6) got past 5th seed Albuquerque Atrisco Heritage (23-8), 53-51, ousting the defending state champion that defeated Santa Fe High in the finals.
In 3A, 6th seeded St. Michael’s (19-10) had a struggle against the visiting stubborn 12th seeded district rival Santa Fe Indian School before turning in a 58-55 win and a date in the quarters versus 3rd seeded Albuquerque Bosque Charter (22-4), which crushed 14th seeded Raton (14-15), 69-28, one of five District 2 teams in the field.
Now there are three left after 4th seed West Las Vegas (19-9) had a tough go before defeating visiting 12th seed Tobatchi, 70-62. and 5th seed Robertson (22-7) rolled over the 13th seed visitors from Thoreau, 65-32. Now the two cross town rivals clash in the quarters Wednesday.
The Horsemen get a real test next when they meet up with Bosque, which defeated No. 1 seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep in the district final, but because the Sundevils placed first in the regular season, they got the higher seed and overwhelmed No. 16 Cuba, 94-59, and now play 9th seed Cobre. The other match-up in the 3A quarters has 2nd seeded Hot Springs taking on NMMI, the 10th seed that upset 7th seed Navajo Prep.
Capital got off to a commanding start, outscoring Centennial, 25-6, after one quarter, and leading 35-17 at halftime. But after three quarters and another Jaguar surge, the advantage grew to 57-22, after a 22-4 run by the home team.
It was again the program’s career scoring leader, senior Antonio “TJ” Sanchez paving the way with he game-high 23 points, junior Dominic Luna added four 3s and 16 points, and senior Chano Herrera was good for a pair of 3s and 15 points. Also contributing were seniors Seth Arroyos and Brandon Saiz, with the two combining for 14 points.
At Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium, Santa Fe High faced fired-up visitors as Carlsbad led 17-11 after one quarter and 27-23 at the intermission. The Cavemen maintained the lead until Demons senior Carlos Dassaro got red-hot in the third quarter. First sophomore Paul Lovato scored on a follow up to put the home side in front for the first time 29-27, then after junior Cody Garcia tossed in a 3 and juniors Cruz Martinez a 2, and Fedonta “JB” White making two free throws, Dassaro went to work.
He found the range for back-to-back 3s, added a 2, and upped the lead to 42-34. Then, after a basket from Lovato, it was White with a 2 and Dassaro with another 3. Three White foul shots and two from Garcia was topped by Dassaro’s fourth 3 for a 59-40 lead. He, Lovato and White powered the Santa Fe High offense.
At Perez-Shelley Memorial gymnasium, St. Michael’s had a tough time eliminating Santa Fe Indian, a team that lost in the state finals last season after ousting the Horsemen for the first time in five starts in the semifinals.
It was all even at 16-16 after the first quarter, but St. Michael’s then put together a 20-8 advantage in the second quarter to take a 36-24 lead at the half. But the Braves weren’t going away, scoring 12 straight points in the third
quarter and cutting the deficit to 38-34 before the Horsemen responded with back-to-back buckets and three free throws to increase their lead to 45-39.
It was then a back and forth clash with the Braves down 48-45 and 51-47 following a St.Michael’s 3, one of five it made. After a Horsemen charity toss and a basket, back came Indian School with a free throw, a 3, and another 2, but couldn’t cut into the 3-point gap as time ran out, and the Braves concluded at 16-11.
In 4A, 7th seeded Espanola Valley (18-11) won over 10th seed Kirtland Central, 63-53, but district foe Taos, the 8th seed, lost to visiting 9th seed Valencia, 64-60, and finished at 21-10. One surprise had 11th seeded Albuquerque Del Norte turning back No. 6 Los Lunas, 36-28.

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