Girls’ State Tournament kicks off with first-round matches Friday

Volcano Vista’s Savannah McGuire (left) and Kennedy Brown (right) take on La Cueva’s Carolina Romero for a loose ball in action in January. The Hawks are seeded first and the Bears third in Class 5A. (Mike Sandoval/For the newspaper)

Game 1 of the state tournament of the 2021-22 high school basketball season in the Albuquerque metro area begins Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in Menaul.

And that will start the nine-day playoff sprint.

CLASS 5A: Volcano Vista #1 opens the defense of its 2021 state title with a home game against Santa Fe.

There are a few distinguishing features in the first round: All four Las Cruces schools are ranked in the top nine, and there are two matchups with teams from District 2.

The No. 4 seeded (but seeded second) Farmington is home to the No. 13 Eldorado, while the third seeded La Cueva takes on the No. 14 Sandia.

Eldorado rookie Bella Hines is the top scorer in Class 5A. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

Farmington beat the Eagles 61-44 and 59-52 during district play, and it will be the start of the playoffs for Eldorado’s remarkable freshman guard Bella Hines, who led 5A in average (22.8 points per game).

La Cueva went 3-0 against an extremely young but talented Matador team, averaging almost 19 points. The Bears are hoping second-year forward Eva Love, who was injured in the district tournament final against Farmington last Saturday, will be available.

No. 11 seed Albuquerque High visits No. 6 Organ Mountain in round one; the Bulldogs have the second-longest 5A winning streak this season (12) behind 25-0 Volcano Vista.

“These girls have been working, and coming into a new program and adapting to everything we do, they have,” said AHS freshman coach Janai Campos.

Perhaps the weekend’s most interesting note is that Jazmyn Griego, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer for AHS in last week’s 5-5A District Final against Santa Fe, will stay in Las Cruces on Friday night so that she can participate. a softball doubleheader Saturday for the Bulldogs against Mayfield.

No. 10 Cleveland has been solid all season; one of his rare missteps was a district tournament semi-final loss to Rio Rancho, a team that did not make the playoffs. Cleveland visits Number 7 Carlsbad on Friday.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good game,” Cleveland coach Susan Kubala said. “The kids are happy to go there.”

The best out-of-district wins for Cleveland have come against AHS and Organ Mountain.

No. 2 Hobbs, a 10-game winner in a row, faces Volcano Vista in the bottom half of the table. The Eagles face a Piedra Vista team that just upset Farmington two weeks ago, a result that rocked the top end of the 5A seed lines.

CLASS 4A: The 9-8 first round game has Hope Christian visiting Valencia. They did not meet in the regular season; the winner of this match will likely face a quarter-final match against No. 1 Kirtland Central.

“Defensively, they look a lot like us. Their guards are scrappy and they do a lot of stuff all over the court. So I really think it’s a good game to watch,” Jaguars coach Micaela Medina said.

Valencia’s top scorer is first-year goalkeeper Jadyn Montoya; for the Huskies, junior forward Kathleen Obisike was one of 4A’s most productive players, averaging a double-double.

No. 3 Bernalillo (25-1), seeded behind Kirtland Central and Gallup, hopes an upset loss to KC in the quarter-finals last May will be instructive as the Spartans look to mount a charge for a title. It starts Friday night at home against Silver.

“I think what they took away from that was not to take anything for granted,” said Bernalillo coach Raymond Aragon.

“We’ve been talking all week about staying healthy and staying humble.”

Aragon’s daughter, Juliana, is 4A’s leading scorer, with 30.3 points per game. She scored 787 points this season, which means she will finish among New Mexico’s top 10 all-time scorers and first among girls playing in the metro area.

Aragon also leads 4A in assists per game (8.1)

The No. 5 seed Highland beat St. Pius by 10 and 27 points in district play and the 12th-seeded Sartans get another chance against the Hornets in the first round at 7 p.m. Friday.

The No. 7 seed, Moriarty, has won 18 games, including two against his first-round opponent, Goddard.

CLASS 3A/2A/1A: Under first-year head coach Sharon Max, the Menaul girls are making the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. The Panthers host Tatum at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of 2A.

“I didn’t know what to expect (when I got here),” said Max, who was an assistant at Cibola for a long time before moving to Menaul. “All I knew was that they were great kids and they were (buying) into the program.”

Also in 2A, No. 2 seed Clayton is home to Dulce; Sophomore Emersen Beiland of the Yellowjackets became a social media sensation last Friday as video circulated of his exploits in a district championship win over Pecos. She made not one but two buzzer-beating 3-pointers, each from at least 50 feet beyond half court in that win.

The Evangel Christian/Oak Grove Classical Co-op heads to Logan in the first round of Class 1A. In 3A, Sandia Prep is the lone Subway playoff representative, a No. 14 seed visiting the No. 3 Santa Fe Indian.

2022 NMAA Women’s Basketball State Championships Class 5A

2022 NMAA Women’s Basketball State Championships Class 4A

2022 NMAA Women’s Basketball State Championships Class 3A

2022 NMAA Women’s Basketball State Championships Class 2A

2022 NMAA Women’s Basketball State Championships Class A

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