Gadsden (16-10) at Clovis (14-10), 6 p.m.
Radio: KCLV-AM 1240, KRMQ-FM 101.5, KTQM 99.9, kclvsports.com
Gadsden players to watch: Mario Medrano, 5-7 Sr. G; Luis Sisneros, 5-9 Jr. G.
What to expect: The Panthers are a lot like the Wildcats, with a deep bench and quick guards.
“They’ve got a lot of interchangeable players,” said Clovis coach J.D. Isler, who identified Gadsden as a tough matchup before the Class 5A seedings were announced. “They play 10 or 11 kids, and they really try to pressure the ball.”
Isler said the Panthers’ offense runs through Medrano, while Sisneros is their best 3-point shooter. Gadsden doesn’t have a true post, he added, but 6-1 junior Jose Luis Arias will go inside from time to time.
The Panthers play with four or five guards at a time, looking to cause matchup problems.
Health: The Wildcats expect to have a full roster. Senior guard Jonathan Langan will wear a shield to protect a broken nose suffered earlier this week.
“He’s a tough kid,” Isler said. “I appreciate the fact he wants to play, wants to help us.”
Portales (13-13) at St. Michael’s (18-10), 7 p.m.
Radio: KSEL-FM 105.9.
St. Michael’s players to watch: Patrick Trujillo, 5-11 Sr. G; Rob Cron, 6-2 Jr. P.
What to expect: The teams met in last year’s Class 3A semifinals, a 53-36 win where the Jordan Romero-led Horsemen led by as much as 28 points. This year, the Horsemen don’t have a dominant scorer, but come at the opposition in waves.
“He’s playing five at a time,” Portales coach Mark Gallegos said of Horsemen coach Ron Geyer. “It’s not your typical St. Mike’s team. They’re up pressing you the whole game. Our concern is fatigue, because we’re not playing as many kids as they are. I just hope we don’t wear out.”
Gallegos thinks both teams deserved higher seeds than the 5-12 matchup. The Horsemen, Gallegos said, should be the third seed because they defeated No. 3 Santa Fe Indian by 20 points on the road. As for the Rams, he said he was hoping for the eighth or ninth seed, but figures Portales got moved down the bracket to prevent first-round matchups between district opponents.
Health: Gallegos said senior guard Shawn Carrasco’s ankle is at full strength.
Tularosa (20-6) at Texico (25-2), 6 p.m.
Tularosa players to watch: Jim Coleman, Fr. G; Emery Coleman, Jr. G.
What to expect: Texico’s 40-38 win over Santa Rosa in last week’s District 6-2A championship gave the Wolverines a home game and helped them avoid a first-round matchup with 25-1 Mesilla Valley.
But the Wildcats are no consolation prize. Of their six losses, four came to Mesilla Valley and another to Santa Rosa.
“Tularosa’s a great team,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said. “I’ve seen a little of them on film. They’re solid.
“It’s one of those matchups where if you’ve got to play them early, you’re happy you get to play them in your gym.”
Fort Sumner (17-10) vs. Santa Fe Waldorf (11-9), 3 p.m. at Santa Fe Prep.
What to expect: The Foxes, who made a surprising run to earn their first state basketball championship last season, start this state run on the road.
“They seem like they’ve got a couple of decent kids that shoot the ball well,” Fort Sumner coach John Wootton said of the Wolves. “We’re going to hope we can press them and get them in an uptempo game.”
Health: Senior guard Rawley Stallard has been struggling throughout the season with headaches, the result of a 2009 automobile accident. Wooton said Stallard’s status is difficult to predict, and some weeks are harder than others for him.
Evangel Christian (9-18) at Melrose (13-8), 6 p.m.
Evangel Christian players to watch: Jordan Easley-Small, 6-2 Sr. F.
What to expect: Melrose coach Dickie Roybal figures outside shooting will be a necessity against the Eagles, who have a front line of Easley-Small, 6-4 junior Nathan Morrison and 6-2 sophomore Wake Gardner.
“They’ve got good size,” Roybal said. “They’ll run a zone, and they’re big across the back (of their zone). A lot of their stuff comes off transition and they shoot the ball well.”
Roybal said the players are excited to have a state tournament home game, a rarity over the last decade.
“It’s big for the kids, it’s big for the community,” he said.
— Compiled by Kevin Wilson