Fort Sumner boys coach John Wootton has absolutely no complaints about a No. 4 seed in the Class 1A state basketball tournament.
“We played No. 3 (Springer) and lost to them at home, and No. 1 (Hagerman) and No. 2 (Cliff) are undefeated,” Wootton said.
The Foxes (15-9), who won a 1A title as a No. 5 seed in 2009 and lost to Cliff in the semifinals last season, open at home against a familiar foe in Dora (15-12) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Foxes and Coyotes were longtime district rivals until this year, when the creation of Class B forced some shuffling. Fort Sumner beat Dora twice earlier this season.
“They’re playing well,” Wootton said of the Coyotes. “They were a young team at the start of the year, but their kids have really come along.”
Meantime, Texico’s girls (24-2) are seeded No. 1 in Class 2A and looking for a fourth title in five years. The Lady Wolverines, who host Cuba (16-11) at 6 p.m. Friday, bring a wealth of experience into the tournament.
“If you play well, you have a chance to win; if you don’t play well, you’ll probably get beat,” Texico coach Keith Durham said. “The good thing is they’ve done it before, and I think they truly understand what it takes to get to that point.”
If they’re shooting well, the Lady Wolverines are hard to beat; they play a stifling brand of defense. Still, Durham said his team isn’t about to overlook the Lady Rams.
“We’re focused on Cuba,” he said. “We know there’s 14 other teams in the tournament, but right now it’s just us and Cuba.”
Fort Sumner’s girls are seeded No. 1 in Class 1A and should be primed for a strong run. The Vixens (24-3), who host Mescalero (15-11) in a 6 p.m. game on Friday, handed No. 2 Tatum its only loss of the season and went 1-2 against Texico — winning 39-36 in the EPAC tournament championship and losing twice by a point.
The Melrose girls (17-10) have had a solid campaign and earned a No. 4 seed in Class 1A girls competition. The Lady Buffaloes host Springer (16-11) at 6 p.m. Friday.
Texico’s boys (14-13), who lost at home to Tularosa in the round of 16 last season after winning back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009, got in as the No. 12 seed this season. The Wolverines travel to fifth-seeded Mesilla Valley (17-12), a team they lost to at home 47-41 in January, for a 6 p.m. game on Saturday.