Holidays can’t truly be­gin un­til prep bas­ket­ball sea­son is un­der­way

Santa Fe New Mexican - - SPORTS - James Bar­ron Com­men­tary James Bar­ron writes a weekly opinion col­umn about sports in New Mex­ico. Con­tact James Bar­ron at jbar­ron@ sfnewmex­i­can.com or 505-986-3045.

Thanksgiving might be draw­ing closer, but any bas­ket­ball junkie in North­ern New Mex­ico knows what this time of year re­ally is.

It’s Bas­ket­ball Christ­mas!

The trickle be­gins this week, as a hand­ful of teams kick off their 2017-18 sea­sons, but next week is the flood as most of the boys and girls pro­grams hit the hard­wood just be­fore they re­tire for one day to stuff them­selves with turkey — that they have to run off later that day or on Fri­day.

While some teams have yet to put the ex­cla­ma­tion point on the foot­ball sea­son (we see you, St. Michael’s and which­ever Las Ve­gas school wins Satur­day), some of us are al­ready sali­vat­ing over the help­ings of bas­ket­ball we will get start­ing next week.

So, here are some ques­tions that need an­swers — yes, right now — for the up­com­ing year:

Can Pe­cos re­peat as Class 3A cham­pi­ons?

The short an­swer is yes. The Pan­thers’ trio of Josh DeHer­rera, Car­los Cor­dova and Mario Archuleta are as po­tent a com­bi­na­tion that you will find in the state. Add to that the mat­u­ra­tion of some of the fresh­men from last year (namely Xavier Varela and An­thony Ar­mijo), and the Pan­thers are ready to de­fend their ti­tle.

How will St. Michael’s fare with David Ro­driguez at the helm?

While he made his coach­ing bones at Santa Fe High, St. Michael’s was his first home as a player. The home­com­ing should be a good one. The Horse­men have some se­ri­ous size (only three play­ers un­der 6 feet) and a good re­turn­ing guard in Jevon Mon­toya. They will chal­lenge Las Ve­gas Robertson for first place in Dis­trict 2-4A.

How will Cindy Roy­bal’s first year at Santa Fe High go?

Give Roy­bal a good point guard, a cou­ple of shoot­ers and a post, and she’ll com­pete with the best of them. She has the guard (Taylor Salazar), and Adon­ica Baca-Martinez is a nat­u­ral scorer. She needs a post for this year to be a bet­ter-than-ex­pected one. Let’s see what she found in the off­sea­son.

Who wins Dis­trict 2-5A, Cap­i­tal or Es­pañola Val­ley?

For the past five years, those have been your choices. On pa­per, it ap­pears to be no dif­fer­ent. So let’s say … Los Alamos? Se­ri­ously. The Hill­top­pers gave Farm­ing­ton all it could han­dle in a 3-14 matchup in the state tour­na­ment, and they re­turn three of their top four scor­ers. If Jack Ste­wart is healthy, Los Alamos will be a hand­ful for op­po­nents.

Will it be twice as nice to be a Lobo in Tierra Amar­illa?

Es­calante might bring home two tro­phies from The Pit come March (color is TBD). The girls pro­gram brings back quick, slick point guard Ten­isha Tor­rez and Sarah Hurd is an in­side/out­side threat and a coach in Tara Ter­razas-Martinez who in­stills con­fi­dence in her teams. The boys showed how tough they are on the grid­iron, and that will trans­late on the court. Cody Rus­som and a healthy Justin Gar­cia will lead the way, and it might take them to The Pit.

If that isn’t enough to get you through Thanksgiving, just wait for the bas­ket­ball pre­view the fol­low­ing week.

You’ll be stuffed by then.

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