Kirtland Central Lady Broncos top seed in Class 4A state tournament

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team will go into the New Mexico state high school basketball tournament as the top seed in Class 4A. 

The Lady Broncos, seeking their 20th overall state title, earned the top seed after beating Gallup for the District 1-4A title on Friday night. Kirtland Central beat the defending state champion Lady Bengals in three of their four meetings this season.

"Now it's just a case of survive and advance," according to Kirtland Central head coach Devon Manning. "It doesn't matter that we're number one, we can't afford to be complacent because there's a few teams out there that are capable of beating us on any given night."

Farmington High will enter the tournament at home as the fourth-seed in Class 5A, while Navajo Prep's girls basketball team is seeded fourth in Class 3A and will open the tournament with a home game.

The Class 4A girls state tournament bracket, in which Kirtland Central is the top seed, slated to face Miyamura in the first round. Kirtland Central Lady Broncos are in search of 20th state championship.

Tournament opener at home for Kirtland Central Lady Broncos

Kirtland Central will open the state tournament at home on Friday at 7 p.m. against district rival Miyamura.

The Lady Broncos, the most accomplished girls basketball team in the state with 19 championships, are led by seniors Aisha Ramone and Adriona Nargo, as well as junior Teghan Begay and sophomore Keira Beall-Gleason.

"We've been here before," Manning said. "We've won big games before and we've been in this position before. Now we just have to continue playing really good basketball."

The Lady Broncos swept Miyamura in their two meetings this season.

More:Kirtland Central on course for high school basketball state championship run

Meantime, Volcano Vista, with an unbeaten mark of 25-0 this season, earned the top seed in the Class 5A girls basketball tournament. The Lady Hawks ran away with the District 1-5A title, beating Cleveland High by three games in the district standings.

Led by senior Natalia Chavez, who's averaging more than 17 points per game this season, Volcano Vista has outscored their opponents by an average margin of more than 38 points per game.

The Class 5A girls state basketball tournament bracket, in which Farmington enters as the four-seed while Piedra Vista also gets into the tournament, seeded 15th and slated to play Hobbs this week.

The Lady Hawks demolished Rio Rancho by a score of 64-23 in the district championship game on Saturday night.

Senior Jaelyn Bates is also one of the top scorers for Volcano Vista, averaging 13 points per game on the season.

Lady Scorpions to face Eldorado at home

Farmington High, coming off a 26-2 season and winning the District 2-5A title by beating La Cueva on Saturday night, enters the tournament as the four-seed in Class 5A. They will open the tournament Friday at home against district rival and 12th seeded Eldorado, a team Farmington has beaten twice this season. Game time has not yet been set for the first round contest.

The Lady Bears, who Farmington topped Saturday night, are in the tournament as the third-seed and will face 14th seeded Sandia in the first round.

More:Farmington boys basketball advances in district tournament on buzzer-beating win

The seedings for the tournament came as a surprise and disappointment for Scorpions girls coach Larenson Henderson. 

"It's a gyp that we didn't get a higher seeding," said Henderson shortly after the brackets were released. "How La Cueva gets in ahead of us is very disappointing. I guess we just have to go out there and take care of our own business."

Also representing District 2-5A are the Piedra Vista Lady Panthers, who were seeded 15th in the Class 5A bracket and will be on the road Friday night to face second-seeded Hobbs.

Despite losing in the second round of the district tournament to Sandia, Piedra Vista finished the season with a winning record which included victories over Class 4A top seed Kirtland Central and district champion Farmington.

Girls 3A state championship tournament bracket, with 4th seeded Navajo Prep slated to open the tournament this week at home against 13th seeded St. Michael's.

Navajo Prep Lady Eagles to face St. Michael's

Navajo Prep's girls basketball team, seeded fourth in Class 3A, will open the tournament Friday night at home against St. Michael's. 

The Lady Eagles, two-time defending state champions, finished the season with a record of 20-6, but lost in the District 1-3A semifinals to eventual district winner Crownpoint. 

Navajo Prep and Crownpoint may well find themselves playing against each other in the second round if Navajo Prep beats St. Michael's and Crownpoint, seeded fifth, beats 12th-seeded Tucumcari.

Check out the official NMAA website for printable brackets of the girls state tournament

The first round games of the state basketball tournament will be played this weekend at the home arena of the higher seed. Quarterfinal round early next week will also be played at the higher seed's host arena. Semifinal and championship round games will be played at the Rio Rancho Events Center, Bernalillo High School and the Pit in Albuquerque. Check the NMAA official website for scheduling information.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.