Skyhawks advance to face Santa Rose Tuesday in Rio Rancho


NEWCOMB — After five previous state tournament appearances in 36 years of existence, the fifth-seeded Newcomb boys basketball team finally won a playoff game, an 84-61 victory over No. 12 seed Clayton in tonight’s 3A state playoff opener.

“All 12 kids that suited up at any point in time can contribute, and that’s the confidence I have in them. You saw today with a lot of kids playing and different people scoring,” Skyhawks coach Dominique Richardson said. “We’re small, (we want to) push the ball, keep the court spread out, front the post, and just have good ball pressure.”

Despite trailing 15-7 early in the first quarter, Newcomb, as it’s done all season, generated a big run by scoring 27 second-quarter points. Five Skyhawk players did damage from 3-point range, hitting seven of them in the period.

Newcomb took a 43-25 lead into halftime and didn’t look back.

The Skyhawks advanced to the 3A quarterfinals, where they will face fourth-seeded Santa Rosa (18-9) at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, Richardson said Newcomb (21-7) must open that contest strong and free of any nerves in the first four minutes of regulation.

“We've got to be more solid. We have to stay disciplined, play our game and play with some confidence,” Richardson said.

Chantz Atcitty is a contributor for and covers sports in northwest New Mexico.