Feature photo: Atrisco Heritage’s Joziah Ramos is a big reason the Jags are looking for a third straight state title (Russell Gurule).
For Enchantment Sports
December has arrived, prep football has finished and boys basketball takes center stage. Expectations are high and the goals set from the end of summer come into motion.
The season began last week and a few exciting match-ups were already played. Las Cruces High, which came into the state tournament last season undefeated but lost to Las Cruces Oñate in the first round, is a bit of a redemption tour.
Or should we say unfinished business?
So far, so good. The Bulldawgs opened the season with a 50-46 victory over El Paso Franklin.
Head Coach William Benjamin has a loaded team, led by seniors Ray Brown and Sal Nevarez.
The Bulldawgs could easily be the top team in the state this year.
An interesting match-up this week is Oñate vs. Hobbs.
The Eagles’ Ricky Lujan one of the best players in New Mexico and will go against Hobbs sophomore sensation Jalen Moore.
Hobbs also has a challenge with Gadsden this week. Gadsden will have high-scoring duo of Kobe Barrientos and Diego Hernandez.
There were several interesting games on Monday Dec. 2, including Highland vs. Cibola. Highland is loaded with senior talent.
Tommy Huynh and Raul Marquez will carry the load for a team that could win it all in 4A.
Cibola comes in with a lot of young talent looking to make an impression in the early season.
Volcano Vista vs. La Cueva. This match-up could be considered the Westside vs. Eastside. La Cueva comes in with Derek Aeilts and Tristan Moore in what could be a dangerous team come state tourney time.
The Hawks have Dion Battle and Ja’kwon Hill to lead the way. This will be a fun game to watch.
Cleveland is at Albuquerque High Dec. 3. Cleveland comes in with Nathan Hasberry taking the lead as the Storm go on the hunt again for that elusive state title.
Albuquerque High will have Jude Tapia keeping the scorekeeper busy with jumpers from everywhere.
Another intriguing match-up is Eldorado vs. Sandia. These two teams have two future stars ready to have a coming out party.
Eldorado’s Deraje Agbaosi is a name you may not have heard of, but you will soon.
On the other side, Sandia’s sophomore sensation Sean Johnson could be the state’s next D-1 recruit.
Seeing these two go head to head is worth the price of admission.
Defending 5A state champion Atrisco Heritage, begins its quest for a three-peat with two games on
the schedule against Valencia and West Mesa. This could be the beginning of a historic run.
The Jaguars are led by Joziah Ramos, one of the state’s top players who could possibly have one of the best high school careers in New Mexico basketball history when all is said and done.
Valley will begin its quest to repeat as 4A champions.
Derick Chavez and Seyi Oyeku will lead the Vikings this year starting with the season opener against Belen.
Valley could also be considered one of the top teams in the
Santa Fe High will be looking for its fist state title in over 40 years.
Starting with New Mexico Lobo commit JB White, the Demons are loaded with talent and experience from last year’s 5A State Title game. Their season starts with Los Alamos.
Russell Gurule was born and raised in Albuquerque. He graduated from Highland High and also attended Hope Christian. Russell is a long-time observer of New Mexico Lobo and high school athletics. Logistics is his day job. Basketball and politics are his passions. To contact Russell with comments of tips, please email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com