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