By Arnie Leshin
Once-beaten Lordsburg’s girls may be ranked first in 2A, but in the state basketball seedings, undefeated Pecos is on top of the heap, and the 2018 state champions will open the shortened, less teams state tournament Monday against visiting 8th-seeded Gallup Rehoboth Christian.
The Panthers, led by All-State and three-time District 6-2A senior Tiffany Herrera, has soared to a 11-0 unblemished record under head coach Bryan Gonzales, and along with unbeatens 5th-seeded Tatum (9-0) and 7th-seeded Academy of Technology and The Classics (12-0) now coached by Ron Drake, who was in the same role in 2018 with Pecos, which defeated Mescalero Apache in overtime.
Now Mescalero Apache is 11-1, the 3rd-seed, with the lone loss to district rival Lordsburg, which is 10-1. Tatum is the 5th-seed and will play at No. 4 Escalante (10-2). And Mescalero Apache will be home to 6th-seeded Clayton (6-2), which finished second to Pecos in the district.
ATC won District 2-2A, but it’s not one of the better districts, with former member Espanola McCurdy seeded 11th last year when it was a 16-team tournament before the coronavirus pandemic cut the field in half this time, and the Bobcats lost by 38 points in the first round, and about the same the previous season in round one, which is why the Phoenix received such a low seeding.
In 5A, Santa Fe area teams struck out, with undefeated Hobbs (10-0) the top seed, and 10-0 Albuquerque Volcano Vista the second seed. It’s the only bracket with three unbeatens as 3rd-seded Las Cruces Centennial is 12-0. Los Lunas, which won District 5-5A, is 11-1 and will be home to 5th-seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland (10-2). Volcano Vista will get a visit from 7th-seeded Albuquerque La Cueva (7-3), 6th-seedd Albuquerque Eldorado (6-2) heads for Centennial and 8th-seeded Albuquerque Sandia (7-3) travels to Hobbs.
In 4A, Espanola Valley (10-1) is home to 7th-seed Albuquerque St. Pius X (7-2) and top seed Portales (9-1) plays host to 8th-seeded Silver (9-3). The third seed is Bernalillo (11-1) and it will get a visit from 6th-seeded Kirtland Central (9-1), while 4th-seeded Gallup (11-1) welcomes 5th-seeded Albuquerque Highland (9-1)
In 3A, first place in District 2 West Las Vegas (9-3) got the 2nd-seed and will be home to 8-4 Tobatchi. Robertson, the District 2 runner-up at 8-4, heads for 3rd-seeded undefeated Dexter (11-0), top seed Navajo Prep, comes in at 11-0 and will host 8th-seeded Thoreau (8-4). The other pairing has 4th-seeded Hatch Valley (11-1) getting home court versus 5th-seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep (9-2).
And then there’s the small-school 1A. The No. 1 seed is unbeaten two-school Roy/Mosquero (12-0) home to another two–school in 8th-seeded Albuquerque Evangel Christian Academy/Oak Grove Classical, which is all even at 5-5. The 2nd-seed, Fort Sumner, is 9-1 and will play host to 7th-seeded Ramah (8-3). Then there’s 3rd–seeded Melrose (10-1) getting a visit from 6th-seeded Gateway Christian (7-2), and 4th-seeded Alamo Navajo (8-1) meeting up at home against 5th-seeded Animas (8-3).
There are eight undefeated teams in the field, two each in 2A and 3A, and three in 5A.