With the state tournament’s first round coming up this weekend, both of Clovis High’s basketball teams are satisfied with where they stand.
The Clovis girls are Class 5A’s No. 3 seed and will face West Mesa in a 7 p.m. Friday game. The Clovis boys are home the next night, as the fifth-seeded Wildcats host No. 12 Alamogordo in a 6 p.m. contest.
First-year CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said the seed was a motivator for the Lady Wildcats after starting the season with a fourth-place finish in the Mel Otero Invitational and a 4-3 record. Since then, few teams have been hotter.
“That was one of our incentives to keep winning,” Reed said. “We felt like if we were to win Saturday (51-38 over Hobbs), we would get that No. 3 seed.”
Reed held out hopes Clovis (23-4) could overtake either Rio Rancho or Eldorado with a 14-game winning streak, but his equation also required one of them to be upset in their district title games.
“They both won and took care of business,” Reed said. “I would have been shocked to be higher or lower (than third).”
The Clovis boys have been streaking as well, with a six-game streak heading into Saturday’s matchup. Since an 84-62 drubbing Feb. 6 at Hobbs, the Wildcats have won all but one game by double figures — Saturday’s 54-49 victory for the District 4-5A title at Ralph Tasker Arena in Hobbs.
“We thought we could be anywhere from three to five,” Clovis coach J.D. Isler said. “I think the way we played the last three weeks, especially, impressed the selection committee.
“The boys are very deserving. Now we have to focus on Alamogordo.”
Neither coach was surprised with the way the brackets came out, but both expected their district rivals could’ve been seeded higher. Reed thought the Hobbs girls could have gone a little higher than No. 12, while Isler thought the eighth-seeded Eagles would be placed on the opposite side of the bracket due to the packed house last year’s Clovis-Hobbs title matchup produced.
“That was probably the only thing I was a little surprised at,” Isler said. “They could have moved us up (two), or moved them up (one) and kept us apart.”
Lovington was ranked well ahead of Portales in the New Mexico High School Association Class 3A girls poll. Portales had beaten Lovington three straight times.
Something had to give, and Clay Stout is satisfied things gave Portales’ way in the Class 3A tournament seedings.
“It was pretty close to what I thought it would be,” the Portales coach said. “You never know sometimes.”
Only one thing was for certain going into Sunday’s seeding meeting — 27-0 Pojoaque would get the top seed. At 17-10, Portales is right behind the Elkettes. Lovington is seeded third.
Portales will face Hatch in a 6 p.m. Friday affair.
The next day pits the Portales boys against Crownpoint, with the game tentatively set for 7 p.m.
Prior to Saturday’s District 4-3A championship win over Lovington, Gallegos said he would be disappointed if the Rams (19-8) got anything less than the third seed. He would have also been shocked if Hope Christian (24-3) or St. Michael’s (20-7) had been seeded behind Portales.
Neither of those things happened.
“I’m satisfied,” Gallegos said. “That’s pretty much what we expected. I think they earned that, and we earned a three seed.”
Gallegos felt the brackets were pretty even on each side, and that District 4-3A got a lot of respect with Ruidoso at No. 8 and Lovington at No. 10.
Stout said Hatch gives him concerns for a No. 15 seed. The Bears shoot the 3 and defend well, much like Lovington.
“Earlier in the year, they had some girls who were out,” Stout said. “They’ve been playing pretty well of late. It kind of took them a while to get going.”
Other local matchups this weekend:
- Both Texico teams are going on the road. The girls are at Jal 6 p.m. Friday, while the boys have a 6 p.m. Saturday matchup at Hagerman.
- Both Clovis Christian teams have qualified. The girls host Elida in a 7 p.m. Friday game at Melrose High School, and the boys are at Dora for a 6 p.m. Saturday affair.
- Fort Sumner’s Vixens host Grady in a 6 p.m. Friday game, and the Foxes will be in a 6:30 p.m. Saturday tilt at Logan.
- Ensuing rounds will be played at The Pit, The Santa Ana Star Center and Bernalillo High School.