That’s all that remains of prep basketball’s regular season, and there is still some unfinished business as we run down the metro area district races.
It is important to note that ANY two-way tie for first, even if one team has swept the other, will result in a one-game playoff.
BOYS: There remains one vital swing game this week: From District 1-6A, Volcano Vista (16-6, 5-1) plays host to surging Cleveland (18-7, 6-1) on Friday night.
The winner almost surely will claim the regular-season title (Volcano Vista also has a game Saturday with Piedra Vista), and gets the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.
Bigger picture, there are possible playoff seeding ramifications in this game depending on the result.
Districts 2 and 4-6A have less ambiguity as Eldorado and Atrisco Heritage both have two-game leads with two games remaining. Technically, both the Eagles and Jaguars still need to win one more game this week to officially clinch the regular season.
Los Lunas’ boys own a one-game lead over Belen, so the Tigers must win twice this week — or only once IF Belen loses Tuesday night to third-place St. Pius — to lock up first place in District 5-5A.
Española Valley (22-1, 6-0) will secure first place in 2-5A with a win Wednesday over Los Alamos. If the Sundevils somehow unexpectedly slip, then Del Norte (10-13, 5-2) will have a chance to tie Española Valley when the two face off up north on Saturday night.
In Class 4A, Bernalillo is already the District 5 champion, and Hope Christian is closing in on the title in District 4, though the Huskies can clinch tonight at Ruidoso. Menaul’s only chance for a playoff game in District 2-2A is for a one-loss Magdalena team to lose two games this week.
GIRLS: The most important game on the schedule is Thursday night’s District 1-6A showdown between league-leading Cibola (22-1, 7-0) and second-place Rio Rancho (19-5, 5-1).
The leaders in Districts 2 and 4, Eldorado and West Mesa, only require one win in their final two games to clinch the regular season.
La Cueva, however, has suffered a crushing loss as its best player, sophomore guard Kaya Ingram, is almost certainly out for the remainder of the season with a severe ankle sprain, Bears coach Robert Perea told the Journal over the weekend.
Among some of the other metro-area districts, Los Lunas in District 5-5A needs one more win to lock down first place; Bosque School would need Santa Fe Indian to lose twice this week, including once to the Bobcats later this week, to get into a playoff in District 5-4A; Portales’ road win at Moriarty last week locked up the 4-4A title.
The district tournaments are next week, with the state tournament brackets to be announced on Sunday, Feb. 25.