PHOTO: Las Cruces High’s Gonzalo Corbalan drives (Russell Gurule/Enchantment Sports).
By Russell Gurule
For Enchantment Sports
Passions are heating up and the debates are beginning.
Who is the best? What’s the best rivalry? Who has the toughest district?
But in the grand scheme of things, it’s all about winning. None of those other things actually matter.
Hype verses substance; so far District 6-4A has given us plenty of inconsistency throughout the season.
This is a district that many believe will have the next state champion. The defending state champion Valley Vikings (16-6) appear to be peaking at just the right time. This is a team that doesn’t have any real stand-out victories other than Atrisco Heritage (15-8).
The Vikings will possibly win the district given how chaotic the rest of the district has been. More hype than substance.
Hope Christian (14-10) is a team that has been given a lot of respect in the coaches’ poll. In fact, Hope has been ranked in the top-5 in 4A with a losing record. How does that happen? No fault of Hope Christian of course, but it is odd considering that other teams with good winning records have been passed over.
Gallup (19-5) keeps winning, yet it was passed over by Del Norte (13-9) in the coaches’ poll. That might change after Del Norte had its five-game winning streak snapped over the weekend while Gallup ran its winning streak to nine.
What else does Gallup have to do?
In Class 5A, Eldorado (18-4) has been beating the teams it’s supposed to beat. That is a sign of consistency. The Eagles will need more from other players besides Deraje Agbaosi if they want to go far in the state tournament. More substance than hype.
On to 1-5A, the district with the state’s largest schools has been very consistent in winning over the years. This year has seen two teams ranked No. 1 during the season; Cleveland (21-3) and Volcano Vista (17-5) both seemed like two trains on a collision towards the state final.
Yet both lost to Cibola (9-14) which is something you don’t do when your a top team. Now Cibola is a young team doing much better than last year and has a bright future. However, Cleveland and Volcano Vista should be owning this district and they’re not. Atrisco Heritage the defending state champion has been a Dr. Jekyll- and Hyde- team.
Barring a collapse, Atrisco could win this district. A little bit of hype, and little bit of substance.
Up north, Santa Fe (20-3) and Capital (21-3) have as well. Definitely substance with these four.
District 4-5A should give us pause. Roswell and Clovis are 17-7 and Hobbs is 16-8. Now it’s a matter of which team goes up another level. Not much hype in this district, but some substance.
Russell Gurule was born and raised in Albuquerque and is a long-time resident. 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