ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Wearing the home whites in the gym of their arch enemy seemed a little odd to the top-ranked Eldorado boys basketball team.
Setting up a potential rematch with the team they’ve played three times in the last month heading into Saturday’s District 5-5A tournament championship game? Even weirder.
“There used to be a time when the district tournaments meant something, but with almost everyone getting in (to the state tournament) it doesn’t seem that important anymore,” said Eldorado coach Roy Sanchez following the Eagles’ 47-39 win over No. 2 Manzano in a 5-5A tiebreaker Tuesday night at La Cueva. “We might see these guys again in a couple days, so it’s hard to know which games are really the most important.”
While Tuesday’s win may not necessarily have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Class 5A state tournament, it certainly handed Eldorado the top seed in this week’s 5-5A tournament and home court advantage in Saturday’s district championship game. The Eagles (23-4) will sit and wait to see whether Highland, Rio Grande or Manzano (20-7) will survive the next few days to reach the finals.
Eldorado did its part thanks to a huge night from Christian Sacoman. The Eagles’ shooting guard hit four 3-pointers and had a game-high 24 points. That included a dagger of a 3 with 1:35 left that gave his team a 41-34 lead and all but ended Manzano’s hopes of a comeback.
“It’s not really about the seed for this team,” Sacoman said. “You look at what La Cueva did as a lower seed last year, and they won state. It doesn’t matter if we’re first or fifth, as long as we’re playing good team ball.”
Eldorado was forced to play Tuesday’s game after losing its regular season finale against Rio Grande. Both the Eagles and Manzano finished 6-2 in district, necessitating the tiebreaker.
“I really don’t mind playing this game because I would have given the players Tuesday off,” Sanchez said. “I’d rather be out here playing that sitting around all week to see who we’re going to play.”