Despite an up-and-down campaign, the Lady Chieftains (8-14, 2-4) have some solid wins to help their case for the No. 16 seed in the 4A playoffs.
Shiprock's beaten the likes of 5A's Oñate and 3A power Tohatchi, plus 4A's Taos and Hope Christian. Shiprock and Taos are among five or six squads vying for that last spot in the 4A playoffs.
And despite being on the losing end against 5A's Alamogordo and Deming, Shiprock made both games one or two-possession battles.
Shiprock also benefits from taking down Miyamura, also in the race for the last 4A playoff spot, in the first of two district matchups. Both sides will square off again on Feb. 22 in Shiprock.
Chieftains were up 52-47 in the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats went on a 21-6 run in the final minutes Friday at Bobcat Gym in Bloomfield. Wochit
The Bobcats (8-14, 3-3) are off to a solid start in District 1-4A, sitting at the No. 3 spot right now. And they’re very much in the mix to potentially snag the 16th and final spot in the 4A playoffs.
Bloomfield’s signature win came on Dec. 20 against Taos, a 17-win team.
And despite losing to St. Pius, BHS also currently holds a stronger district record than the Sartans, who are 1-4 to start District 5-4A.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is that the teams in District 3-4A (Chaparral, Santa Teresa, Silver and Ruidoso) have combined for just 24 total wins so far this season.
Whichever team wins that district will automatically make the 4A playoffs, and that same squad will most likely be the only playoff team coming out of that district. That in turn will open the door for teams in other districts to receive consideration for the last spot.
And teams like Bernalillo, Portales and Lovington have yet to win their first district games as of now, which presents a little extra hope for Bloomfield’s playoff chances.
The Chieftains benefit from a couple key factors:
1. Despite the bleak outlook on paper, Shiprock (7-15, 2-4 in District 1-4A) has wins over Piedra Vista, Newcomb and Cuba. Newcomb and Cuba are fighting to secure playoff spots, and any win over a 5A team is an extra boost.
2. Shiprock will also play three of its final four district games at home, in which they’ve only stepped foot into the Chieftain Pit eight times this season. Shiprock also has a very winnable game Friday at Aztec.
After losing both district matchups against Bloomfield, Shiprock must win out and will also need help from teams like Kirtland and Gallup when the Bobcats play them again in the coming days.
Like Bloomfield, Shiprock’s best hope at sneaking into the playoffs is as the final at-large berth.
Like Bloomfield, it’s make-or-break time for the Chieftains.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.