By Arnie Leshin
That’s back-to-back All-State First Team girls basketball honors for Pecos’ Trinity Herrera, and opponents beware, the junior has another season ahead.
As a sophomore, she was highly instrumental in bringing the Panther girls their initial state hoops championship. This past season, she didn’t get that far, but still turned in another star-studded effort. She led the team in scoring with 19.9 points per game, in rebounding with 7.8, and in steals with 7.1. She also dished out 2.7 assists a game, and added 21 blocked shots.
She did everything equally well. She tossed in 11 3s, converted 112 free throws, was good for 217 two-pointers, totaled 557 points, and very important, played in all 30 games.
Said head coach Bryan Gonzales after his first year of coaching Pecos: “Trinity was really versatile as our shooting guard and power forward. She made the clutch shots from inside and outside, was excellent once she got into the paint, handled the ball well, and showed intensity, leadership, and teamwork. I think she fouled out of only two games.”
It’s good that the 5-foot-6 Herrera had time for basketball what with volleyball, softball and track and field also on
her school-year schedule.
On the second team from the runner-up Panthers District 7 were juniors Mandy Crisp and Ashley Hill. Crisp was on the surprising 3rd place Clayton team that made it the state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Mescalero Apache, and Hill’s Wolverines won the district regular season and district tournament.
Also in 2A, for the second straight year 5-9 Penasco senior post Carly Gonzales made All-State First Team. She came away with a 21-7 scoring norm and 12.8 on the board as the Panthers lost in the state final to Mescalero Apache coached by Elmer Chavez. Gonzales was sidelined one season with a knee injury, but won back-to-back cross country state championships as a freshman and sophomore, and also plays volleyball.
Chavez is the same one who coached Santa Fe High’s girls to the state 4A title in 2014, so that’s twice in five years that he got to hoist the championship trophy at the University of New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Arnea.
From his team’s first state title came two on the All-State First Team, with seniors Fallon Valasquez and Ramona Fossum getting the honors. In the championship game, Velasquez found her way for the game-high 34 points that included a quartet of 3s, the same number of 2s, and made good on 10-of-14 foul shots.
Fossum added 14 points in the final for the 28-3 Chiefs, who lost in overtime to Pecos in last year’s title game. During the regular season, the 5-5 guard scored at a 15.6 clip, brought down a norm of 7.5 rebounds, and was right up there in assists and steals.
As for Velasquez, a 5-6 shooting/guard/wing, her seasonal scoring average was 15.6 per game, 5.3 in scrubbing the boards, 3.1 in steals, and 3.0 in assists to go with 1.4 blocks. She and Fossum also run with the cross country team, play volleyball, and compete in track and field.
On the 3A Second Team were senior Tessa Oritz of Robertson and junior Brianna Marquez of West Las Vegas.
And in 4A, Pojoaque Valley senior Michaela Martinez made Second Team.