Feature photo: Volcano Vista’s Terrin Dickey (33) and Cleveland’s Tre Watson (1) will meet again this week (Russell Gurule).
By Russell Gurule
For Enchantment Sports
High school hoop fans, last week brought postponements due to weather and some big upsets for several top teams. This week we are entering the pivotal part of the season where district play begins.
Last week Cleveland (17-0) began the week with a 71-59 victory over Manzano (5-9). Cleveland’s Lucas Lovato finished with 21 points.
Cleveland’s game against Highland (8-5) was postponed due to weather. It is unclear if and when it will be made up.
This week brings the game that everyone has been waiting for — Cleveland at Volcano Vista (14-2) on Wednesday. This is a rematch of the Metro Championships final featuring two of the state’s top teams.
Will Cleveland stay as the remaining unbeaten team in 5A, or will Volcano Vista bounce back from the upset loss to an underrated Clovis (13-5) team?
The Hawks’ Dion Battle finished with a solid week of scoring with 23 and 18 points in two games this past week. Volcano Vista also plays at Cibola (7-8) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Las Cruces High (16-1) continued its dominance with a 63-43 victory over Centennial. The Bulldawgs are on an 11-game winning streak with two big road games this week; on Tuesday at Oñate (15-3) and Friday at Alamogordo (13-5).
Oñate suffered a surprising upset loss to Deming (5-9) yet was able to bounce back against Alamogordo.
The upcoming game against Las Cruces High is an opportunity to avenge their first loss of the season.
Capital (13-2) has a busy week with two home games and one on the road. The Jags are at home on Monday against Pojoaque Valley (6-11) and visit Rio Grande (3-9) on Wednesday. The Jaguars finish the week at home on Saturday against Albuquerque High (5-9) at 7 p.m.
The key for the Jaguars will be to avoid stumbling this week as their game with Santa Fe looms ahead.
Santa Fe (12-3) also experienced a cancellation of its game against Española Valley. It is unclear when the game will be made up. Santa Fe starts District 3-5A play with two games this; Wednesday at Albuquerque High (5-9) and Friday at home against Sandia (3-11).
The key for the Demons will be to stay sharp after a week-long layoff.
Eldorado (13-2) marched through last week with victories over Atrisco Heritage (9-6) and Rio Grande. Deraje Agbaosi continues to be the leader for the Eagles this season.
Eldorado starts District 3-5A play at home on Tuesday against Piedra Vista (5-13) and is at Farmington (8-10) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
There were two upsets this week in 5A.
West Mesa (5-10) took a 67-64 win against Rio Rancho (10-7) as the Mustangs’ Eloy Medina had 31 points.
Also, Cibola surprised No. 10 No. 10 La Cueva (8-6), 63-54 as the Cougars’ Brady Arrenius had 18 points.
Defending state champion Valley (9-5) faced Los Lunas (9-8) in a rematch of last year’s 4A state final with the Vikings winning again, this time 50-43. Valley’s Seyi Oyeku finished with 22 points.
Valley begins district play at Bernalillo (8-7) on Tuesday and on Thursday at home against Del Norte (6-7).
Gallup (11-5) survived a tough week with a victory over another solid 4A contender in Lovington (11-5), winning 77-64. The Bengals have two games this week; on Tuesday at
home against Kirtland Central (8-7) and Thursday at Miyamura (4-12).
Artesia (12-6) is turning heads with a big win in OT 57-51 over 5A rival Carlsbad (11-6) and a five-game winning streak.
Artesia plays at Roswell (13-5) on Tuesday and on Saturday at St. Pius X (5-7)
at 3:30 p.m. Keep an eye on this team.
Taos (13-5) has quietly built up a nice record and will play Saturday at Pojoaque Valley at 7 p.m.
Taos could be a dark horse come tournament time.
Highland (8-5) was able to get by Belen (6-11), 39-37. The Hornets have two interesting games this week; on Tuesday against Hope Christian (8-7) and on Friday against Albuquerque Academy (9-4).
Hope Christian is on a four-game win streak after capturing it own Hope Invitational and Albuquerque Academy has built up a nice record against some tough competition.
Russell Gurule was born and raised in Albuquerque and is a long-time resident. He graduated from Highland High and also attended Hope Christian. Russell is a long-time observer of New Mexico Lobo and high school athletics. Logistics is his day job. Basketball and politics are his passions. To contact Russell with comments of tips, please email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.