By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
The road through the high school basketball state championships is now public, and Portales, Elida and Dora teams have their road maps laid out in front of them.
The New Mexico Activities Association released the official basketball state championship brackets Sunday afternoon.
The District 4-3A champion Portales Lady Rams (16-7, 7-0) were awarded the top overall seed in the girls Class 3A tournament bracket hosting the No. 16-seeded Cobre Indians Friday night at 7 p.m.
“I did (expect the No. 1seed), but I’ve expected it a couple of years when it didn’t happen,” Lady Ram head coach Brenda Gomez said. “I think the kids reputation has earned them the No. 1 seed because of who we’ve played.”
The Lady Rams cruised through their district schedule undefeated, beating Ruidoso three times, but if Portales and Ruidoso both win their first-round games, they’ll meet again in the second round.
“That’s really unfortunate for both of his since we’ve played each other three times,” Gomez said. “I think they do (try to avoid that) but with 16 teams (in the post-season) and only five districts it’s hard to make sure that nobody will play somebody in their districts in the first two rounds.”
While Gomez stipulated that her girls are taking the one-game-at-a-time approach, she understands how close they are to greatness.
“In the overall picture, you realize that you have a legitimate shot of getting that second state championship in a row.”
Meanwhile, the Rams (16-9), who are coming off an emotional District 4-3A championship, received the No. 4 seed and host No. 13 seeded Las Vegas-Robertson. Portales defeated the Cardinals early this season 57-54 at home.
“Robertson is very good,” Ram head coach Mark Gallegos said. “They’ve played everybody tough, and they’re as good as anybody.”
Gallegos also believes his team received the toughest draw of the bracket.
Also on the Rams side of the bracket, No. 5 seeded Sandia Prep, No. 8 seeded West Las Vegas, district foe and No. 9 seeded Lovington, and top seeded Hope Christian.
The Elida Tigers (24-4) coming off a District 3-1A win on the road against Dora, host the District 2-1A runners up Desert Academy (6-8) in the Class 1A first-round Saturday at 2 p.m.
As district runners up, the Elida Lady Tigers (21-4) must travel to District 2-1A champion Tohajiilee (16-3) Friday at 6 p.m.
The district runner up Dora Coyotes will travel to Albuquerque to test District 2 champion Temple Baptist.