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Kirtland Central

The Lady Broncos are in contend-now mode, as they have virtually their whole key group back from last year, including Talia Ockerman, Tiajhae Nez and Siigrid Lii'bilnaghahi.

After all the ups and downs Kirtland’s offense had pushing the ball last year, the new-look offense will be quite a shift under new coach Devon Manning.

It’ll take some time for players and fans to adjust. However, Manning’s philosophy of taking smart, high-percentage shots (even if it takes a full minute before that ideal shot comes) could very well be the one thing that propels KC to a state title this year.

Farmington

Like Manning, new FHS coach Larenson Henderson will have the luxury of inheriting a team with most of its key group back this season, including front-court duo Jordan Vasquez and Chloe Finch.

After last year’s 5A state playoff appearance, expect the Scorpions to take that next step and make an even deeper run.

FHS is a group with a high basketball IQ. The Scorps practice good ball movement and lean on strong defense to win, or at least hang on in, tougher games.

If Farmington adjusts to Henderson’s run-and-gun style quickly, expect the Scorpions to be even more dangerous than last year.

Aztec

Now that their younger core has spent a full season adjusting to the team’s motion offense, expect the Lady Tigers to make a little more noise this season.

Aztec went with more of a free-flowing approach on the scoring end last year, so that younger players could start building confidence finding and hitting open shots. Now, it’ll be interesting to see whether they incorporate more set plays this year.

And if they become more poised this year, the younger group should be even more decisive about when to shoot or pass the ball.

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