Scorps get 3 seed in 5A after 25-3 campaign
Five local boys basketball teams made the field for the state tournaments, which kick off this weekend
- The Broncos were seeded ninth and will play at No. 8 Artesia in the first round on Saturday.
- Bloomfield sneaked into the 5A tourney with the 16th and final spot and will play at No. 1 Roswell.
- No. 14 Navajo Prep and No. 15 Shiprock face daunting challenges in the 4A bracket.
FARMINGTON — The Farmington boys basketball team put together its best season in more than a decade, going 25-3 and winning the District 1-5A regular season and tournament crowns. And the Scorps were rewarded with the No. 3 seed in the 5A state tournament.
The Scorps will host No. 14 Los Alamos (13-14) in the first round of the tourney at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Scorps have already topped the Hilltoppers once this season, beating them 55-39 during the Poe Corn Invite in Roswell on Dec. 30.
The matchup will be eerily similar to the Scorps' first-round game in last year's state tournament. In 2016, Farmington was the No. 4 seed and lost on a buzzer-beater to No. 13 Bernalillo, a team the Scorps beat by 17 earlier in the season.
"We haven't even talked about the past. It's a clean slate and a one-game series," Farmington coach Paul Corley said after the Scorps' district title game on Saturday. "Unfortunately, we did lose last year, but we have a great group of seniors (this year), and I think they understand what we need to do. We're going to go out and get after it."
Kirtland Central (17-10) received the No. 9 seed after finishing second in District 1-5A and will travel across the state to play No. 8 Artesia (19-9) in the first round at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Bulldogs finished second in District 4-5A and will present a tall task for the Broncos, literally.
Artesia lists four players — three seniors and one junior — at 6-foot-6 or taller.
The Broncos will look to push the tempo — a style of play they love, averaging 65 points per game — to try to wear down the Bulldogs' bigs and prevent them from setting up their defense, which has allowed a mere 45.5 points per game.
Bloomfield (13-14) snagged the last spot in the 5A bracket at No. 16. The Bobcats will play at No. 1 Roswell (21-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Bobcats and Coyotes have met once this season, facing off at the Poe Corn Invite back on Dec. 28. Roswell cruised to an 89-62 win in that game.
The December win over Bloomfield was the start of a great run by the Coyotes that saw them win 14 of 15 games, with the only loss coming to 6A Hobbs.
In 4A, Navajo Prep and Shiprock have long treks to make for their first-round games.
The Eagles (17-10), who received the No. 14 seed, will travel about six and a half hours to get to Silver City for their game against the No. 3 Colts. And Shiprock will have to drive about seven hours to get to its game at No. 2 Portales.
Silver (22-4) is one of the hottest teams in the state entering the tourney. The Colts have won 11 straight by an average of 27.8 points per game. During the streak, only one game — the District 3-4A tourney title game against Socorro — was decided by single digits with a 51-45 victory.
When the Chieftains take on the Rams, they'll have to deal with a team that has only lost two games this season to New Mexico opponents.
Portales (22-4) lost two games to programs from Texas and fell to Hope Christian, the No. 1 seed, twice during District 4-4A action. But then the Rams beat Hope 55-52 for the district tourney title on Saturday in Albuquerque.
Prep will play Silver at noon on Saturday. Shiprock will take on the Rams at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.