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Prep holiday basketball tournaments prepare to tip off

 

Except for retailers, the only people working harder during Christmas and New Year’s are high school basketball coaches.

The usual batch of post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s Day tournaments is upon us, with Rio Rancho’s Jalene Berger Allstate Holiday Hoops Classic the first one out of the gates among events featuring metro-area schools. It starts Wednesday at Rio Rancho High.

Valley and surprising Oñate get things started at 1 p.m., followed by Hope Christian and El Paso Socorro at 3, Piedra Vista-Española Valley at 5 and the host Rams taking on Centennial at 7 p.m.

The championship game is 7 p.m. Friday.

While the Rams’ event runs Wednesday through Friday, the others have a Thursday-Saturday schedule.

• That includes the 59th annual Hobbs Holiday Tournament at Ralph Tasker Arena.

Give tournament organizers this, they certainly know how to schedule with an eye toward home cooking, because they have placed what might be the two best teams, and the two highest-ranked teams, in this boys-only field — Cleveland and Eldorado — against one another in the first round, at 9:45 a.m. Thursday. Santa Fe, Mayfield and Kirtland Central also are attending. The championship game is 7:45 p.m. Saturday.

• No. 1 Las Cruces returns to the metro area for the Los Lunas/Valencia tournament, which begins Thursday with Valencia hosting this year. And the Bulldawgs were given a very tough opening-round assignment as they take on No. 7 Albuquerque High at 11:30 a.m.

Gadsden-Los Lunas, Alamogordo-El Paso Montwood and Valencia-Santa Teresa are the other first-round boys contests.

Los Lunas’ girls headline the other bracket, as the Tigers face Santa Fe High in the first round. Eldorado faces Alamogordo, Bloomfield (a definite 5A threat) faces Artesia and Gadsden plays Valencia in the other first-round games.

The girls’ final is 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

• The Las Cruces Holiday Hoopla girls tournament features La Cueva and Rio Rancho.

The Rams face Oñate, while the Bears take on Mayfield in Thursday’s first round. Las Cruces’ girls, perhaps the tournament favorite, are in the other half of the bracket.

The final is 7 p.m. Saturday at Las Cruces High.

• As old as the Hobbs boys tournament is, the Stu Clark Invitational in Las Vegas is older. This is the 64th annual event, which will be played at New Mexico Highlands.

The boys from Sandia Prep, Del Norte, St. Pius, Bernalillo and Moriarty are featured in the eight-team field.

The best matchup in the first round Thursday could be old rivals St. Pius and Bernalillo. Del Norte meets Sandia Prep, Moriarty faces West Las Vegas and Robertson plays Taos, also in the first round.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

• Belen and Rio Grande’s boys, and Rio Grande’s girls, are in Clovis this week.

The Griego’s Holiday Classic (boys) has the Ravens against Canyon Randall from Texas in the first round Thursday, and the Eagles taking on St. Michael’s.

The Rio Grande girls play the host Wildcats in the first round.

Championship games Saturday are 5:50 p.m. for the girls, and 7:30 p.m. for the boys.

NOTE: For a good number of metro-area boys and girls teams, the tournaments this week give them almost no time to get ready for the Albuquerque Metro Championships, which begin Tuesday at various high schools around the city.

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