By Arnie Leshin
Nothing like home sweet home, which is where District 2-3A schools Robertson and Santa Fe Indian School will take the court in Tuesday night‘s girls quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament.
The top-seeded Cardinals are the No. 1 seed and has lost only once in 26 starts, and that was a 61-59 setback against Moriarty on a neutral court of a tournament. Otherwise, the Cardinals, with a mix of senior and freshmen, have had some other close calls but is favored to oust visiting 8th-seeded Thoreau, with the Hawks at 15-11 but capable of upsetting the apple cart, nothing unusual in state tournaments.
Then there’s Indian School, the 3rd-seed that has lost all three starts versus Robertson, but is 19-6, gets a good turnout, and plays well on its spacious home court and goes against 6th-seeded Socorro (18-6). As for the Cards’ close calls, there was 48-47 over Albuquerque St. Pius X, 31-29 over 5A Rio Rancho, and 49-45 over Taos.
The Braves have paved their way here behind 5-foot-4 senior point guard Jordan Torres, 5-9 senior power forward/shooting guard Cameron Connors, 5-3 junior two-way guard Madisen Valdez, and 5-9 senior guard Taryn Aguillar, who has previously played at St. Michael’s and Capital. Connors is the strength underneath, the top rebounder, shot blocker, and inside defender. They don’t stand too tall, but run the court well with a host of quick ballhandlers.
Robertson is led by 5-10 junior wing Mistidawn Roybal, a transfer from Pecos, 6-foot freshman forward Alyka King-Greenwalt, and it’s most valuable player is versatile 5-10 junior forward Jayden Jenkins. Thoreau banks on juniors Leah Delgardo and Maria Calladitto, the latter a 5-6 forward and Delgardo a 5-7 guard.
Taos has already seen Bernalillo, lost to the Spartans 60-52 there back on Dec. 18. The Tigers gave up the game-high 33 points to the state’s leading scorer, 5-5 senior JullianaAragon, who is currently averaging 30.3 points a game with 787 field goals to go with 63 free throws, The Spartans had won their first 23 starts before dropping a 58-55 game at Albuquerque Hope Christian, and then won the next two times over the Huskies, 54-46 and 55-49.
Indian School got here by winning 40-29 over Albuquerque Sandia Prep in Friday’s first round. Robertson overwhelmed district rival Raton, 64-19. Taos made its way to the quarterfinals by getting past Espanola Valley, 68-59. Then there was Bernalillo tarnishing Silver, 62-24, Socorro disposing of West Las Vegas, 42-33, and Thoreau romped over Zuni, 77-46.
TUESDAY SCHEDULE GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS:
(6) Laguna-Acuma (19-9) at (3) Eunice (19-8) 6 p.m.
(10) Mesa Vista (19-8) at (2) Clayton (19-5) 6 p.m.
3A — (8) Thoreau ((15-11) at (1) Robertson (25-1) 7 p.m.
10) Hatch Valley (10) at (2) Tohatchi(21-7) 5:30 p.m.
(6) Socorro (18-6) at (3) Santa Fe Indian School (19-6) 7 p.m.
(5) Crownpoint (22-7) at (4) Navajo Prep (21-6) 6 p.m.
4A — (8) Valencia (19-11) at (1) KirtlandCentral (24-5) 7 p.m.
(7) Moriarty (7) at (2) Gallup (24-4) 7 p.m.
(6) Taos (22-6) at (3) Bernalillo (26-1) 6 p.m.
(5) Albuquerque Highland (21-5 at (4) Portales (22-4) 7 p.m.
5A — (8) Centennial at (1) Albuquerque Volcano Vista, 7 p.m.
(5) Las Cruces at (4) Farmington, 6 p.m.
(6) Organ Mountain at (3) Albuquerque La Cueva, 7 p.m.
Carlsbad at (2) Hobbs, 6 p.m.