By Ed Nunez
The girls 5A state high school basketball tournament begins tonight (March 8), and if the seedings play out, Albuquerque and Dreamstyle Arena — The Pit, should have some big-time games next week.
The Hobbs Eagles coached by Joe Carpenter ( 26-2, 5-1 in district 4) earned the number one seed, followed by the No. 2 seed, the Piedra Vista Panthers, coached by Joe Reed ( 24-3, 7-1 in district 2.) The No. 3 seed is West Mesa, coached by Manny Otero ( 24-3, 6-2 in district 2), while the number 4 seed is Carlsbad (24-5, 5-1 in district 3), coached by John Zumbrun.
Hobbs’ only losses were to West Mesa on a last-second shot by the Mustangs’ Emily Burk in overtime and to Carlsbad. But the Eagles avenged that by beating the Cavegirls in the district championship. Hobbs also defeated top-seeded team in 4A, Kirtland Central. The Eagles face 16th-seeded Deming (16-11, 5-7 in district 3), coached by Kimberly Garcia at 6 p.m.
The second seeded Panthers will host 15th-seeded Eldorado (9-16, 0-8 in district 2), coached by Rich Harbin. The Eagles have lost their last three and were defeated whipped by the Panthers 69-42 on January 22 at Piedra Vista. The game is at 5 p.m. at Piedra Vista.
West Mesa won seven of its last nine, with the two losses to Piedra Vista by a total of four points. West Mesa plays host to 14th-seeded Onate (15-13, 6-6), coached by Evelyn Reyes, at 7p.m. Carlsbad will host the 13th-seeded, Centennial Hawks (14-13, 7-5 in district 3), coached by Louie Laborin. The Cavegirls defeated Centennial 48-32 in Carlsbad this year. That game starts at 7 p.m.
Fifth-seeded Volcano Vista (21-5, 8-1 in District 1), coached by Lisa Villareal, will host 12th-seeded Alamogordo (21-8, 8-4), coached by Manny Vigil) at 6 p.m. The Tigers have won three straight while the Hawks have won five of their last six.
In a game of hot streaks, sixth-seeded Las Cruces Mayfield (23-5, 12-0 in DIstrict 3), coached by George Maya, is riding a 12-game winning streak and will host 11th-seeded Sandia (19-6, 10-0 in District 5), coached by Lee Ketig. The Matadors have won 11 straight. That contest tips off at 6 p.m.
No. 7 Farmington (21-8, 4-4 in District 2), coached by Laurensen Henderson, will host the 10th-seeded Cleveland Storm (19-10, 4-4 in District 1), coached by Susan Kubala. The Storm defeated Farmington 66-51 on December 15.
Eighth-seeded La Cueva (18-7, 3-5 in District 2), coached by Robert Perea will play host to ninth-seeded Rio Rancho (17-11, 4-2 in District 1), coached by Scott Peterson, Friday night at 7 p.m. The Bears defeated the Rams at Rio Rancho 68-52 in December.
In the past, the winners would trek to Santa Ana Star center for the quarterfinals. This year, all of the quarterfinals, and semifinals will be at Dreamstyle Arena. West Mesa, Piedra Vista and Hobbs have all been ranked No. 1 this season.
Ed Nuñez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a staff writer with Enchantment Sports. If you have information, tips or questions for Ed, please send to EnchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.