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7th-seeded Elkettes will try to reach the Pit

SANTA FE, N.M. — When you’ve been in the New Mexico high school basketball coaching business as long as Ron Drake, there’s no real surprises when it comes to who is seeded where in the postseason bracket.

In fact, Drake’s Pojoaque Valley girls squad is seeded seventh in the Class 3A draw and will host Thoreau Friday night. Reaction?

“Yeah, I think that was just about right. That’s where I put ourselves,” Drake said.

Plenty of incentive is in place though for Drake in his first year with the Elkettes. If Pojoaque happens to win that game, the team will get to play in the Pit for the quarterfinal round of the tournament.

Standout point guard Cheyenne Cordova was an 8th grader on the varsity when the Elkettes last visited the famed Albuquerque venue.

Of course, if Pojoaque wins, they’ll also likely be matched up with second-seed and perennial power Santa Fe Indian School. But that’s down the road.

“We played them (Thoreau) earlier in the season,” Drake said. “But you know, you can throw all those games out. Everybody brings their A-game to state because nobody wants to go home.”

In the 3A girls field, Taos is the fifth seed and will host Sandia Prep while eighth-seeded Robertson gets a home game as well by taking on Socorro.

Top seeds in the Class 4A girls draw include Santa Fe High. As the third-seeded team, the Demonettes will host another perennial power although Kirtland Central, seeded 14th, is having an atypical year by its standards. Española Valley, as the fifth-seed, will entertain Grants in the opening round while Los Alamos, given a ninth-seed on Sunday by the seeding committee, just missed out on a home game and will go to eighth-seeded Deming.

In 4A boys, Santa Fe coach David Rodriguez had no illusions about hosting a game and his team, given the 14th seed, will go to Los Lunas on Saturday. The Demons had won three in a row, including a road victory over Capital, before falling big to the same Jaguars team in the district tournament.

“Our kids are happy, they’re confident,” Rodriguez said. “We’re confident we can go in and have a chance to win.”

Capital, meanwhile, with the sixth seed will host Moriarty on Saturday in the 4A bracket.

The 3A boys tournament features St. Michael’s at a two seed and the Horsemen will host Wingate in the first round. Pojoaque, at six, and number eight Taos also get home games: the Elks will host Bloomfield while the Tigers take on Lovington this weekend.