By Arnie Leshin
There sits the St. Michael’s boys in the middle of the 3A pack that has advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament. Much more comfortable then it was in the early part of this season.
And they are having a ball along with the coaching staff headed by interim coach George Garcia. They realize it wasn’t easy to shrug off 0-10 and 2-12 starts, to tip off this surge of a dozen wins and just one defeat via the unbelievable comeback stunner over visiting Robertson, to finish second in District 2, to finally jump over .500, and to be 4th-seeded in the tournament to go with back-to-back home court games.
Now, after dominating 12-seeded Tohatchi, 76-33, in Saturday’s first round, the Horsemen coincidentally now get a visit from 5th-seeded Navajo Prep, whose girls disposed of the visiting Lady Horsemen in round one, and now hooks up with the St. Michael’s boys after turning back 12th-seeded West Las Vega 56-46, in the opener on the road.
The Horsemen will also have district 2 company after 11th-seeded Santa Fe Indian School (9-17) ousted rival district, the 6th-seeded Raton, 46-40, plus Robertson, the No. 2-seed, moved on by overwhelming 15th-seeded Dexter, 73-37.
And St. Michael’s is also happy to see that non-district opponents Crownpoint and Albuquerque Bosque School have also made it to the 3A quarters. Way back when the Horsemen had lost their initial 10 starts, they were hosting their own tournament and didn’t have any problem placing those two in their win column with back-to-back wins.
So now St. Michael’s can also boast of defeating two schools that are in the state tournament.
The top seed in this class is Socorro (24-2), which won handily over 16th-seeded Tucumcari, 81-48, and will play Crownpoint (15-10) next. Bosque (16-7) takes on Robertson, which is 18-6. And to complete the Wednesday schedule, Indian School will meet up with 3rd-seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep.
And once again kudos to the blue and white of St. Michael’s for making its way up from the bottom to hopefully a state championship. It worked hard to get this far and right now is 14-13, but there’s room here for three more wins and just one setback, and hoisting the championship blue trophy would be the final torch to carry in this up-and-down campaign now on the right road.
THE HORMSEMEN ROSTER:
Marco C De Baca
INTERIM HEAD COACH