High School Basketball: Volcano boys, girls top seeds at Metro Championships - Albuquerque Journal

High School Basketball: Volcano boys, girls top seeds at Metro Championships

The Albuquerque Metro Championships are indeed a paradox, as they can rightfully be painted as both a sprint and a marathon.

The regular season’s most prestigious (and sizable) high school basketball tournament — 32 teams — begins on Tuesday at eight sites around the city, with each gym hosting a pair of games.

Volcano Vista’s boys and girls, both undefeated, are No. 1 seeds, followed by La Cueva in both genders.

BOYS: Volcano Vista (9-0) is one of two undefeated teams in Class 5A, along with Las Cruces, and the Hawks’ biggest wins so far are against La Cueva and Cleveland. The defending state champion Storm lurk as a No. 4 seed this week, behind No. 3 Atrisco Heritage.

The Jaguars are easily the most curious team in the 16-team field, having rattled off eight straight victories since an opening-night home loss to La Cueva and having undergone a coaching change. Steve Heredia is serving as Atrisco’s interim coach after Adrian Ortega resigned last month to become the district athletic director at Albuquerque Public Schools.

The Jags and La Cueva, if they win their first two games this week — first round Tuesday, quarterfinals on Wednesday — would be in line to face each other again on Friday in the semifinals.

In the middle of the boys bracket, you have No. 8 Rio Rancho, coming off a victory in its holiday tournament and having faced possibly the toughest schedule so far of any 5A team, against No. 9 Eldorado.

Perhaps the most unheralded of the top eight seeds is No. 7 Valley, which is 6-2 and has five victories by eight or fewer points, including a 48-41 opening-night win over West Mesa.

The Mustangs, seeded 10th, are Valley’s first-round opponent. Valley is not the highest-seeded 4A school in the boys’ field, however; that distinction belongs to No. 5 Highland.

Sandia, the No. 6 seed, this week is expected to get back its best player, 6-foot-5 guard/forward Sean Johnson, who has yet to play this season.

Matadors coach Danny Brown said Johnson should be back on the floor for the final two games of the tournament, on Friday and Saturday.

The semifinals are 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. Friday at West Mesa.

The championship game is 4 p.m. Saturday, also at West Mesa.

GIRLS: If the boys’ bracket seems capable of producing a handful of contenders, the girls’ bracket, frankly, seems much less wide open. And that’s perhaps putting it mildly.

Volcano Vista (7-0) rates as a prohibitive favorite this week, and the Hawks are a combined 3-0 against the teams seeded second and third in this tournament, La Cueva and Sandia. Volcano Vista has beaten both the Bears and Matadors by 20 points already this season.

Cleveland, off to a strong start, is the No. 4 seed.

If you want to see Eldorado’s stellar freshman guard Bella Hines, who last month earned her first Division I scholarship offer from the University of New Mexico, she’ll be playing at La Cueva at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday as the seventh-seeded Eagles face No. 10 Atrisco Heritage.

The other matchup in the middle of the bracket pairs No. 8 Rio Rancho with No. 9 Hope Christian.

Volcano Vista is the site of Friday’s semifinals, at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m.

The girls’ final is 6 p.m. Saturday at West Mesa.

*

Metro Championships

Boys First Round

At Atrisco Heritage

(1) Volcano Vista vs. (16) Rio Grande, 5:30 p.m.

(8) Rio Rancho vs. (9) Eldorado, 7:15 p.m.

At Cibola

(5) Highland vs. (12) Cibola,

5:30 p.m.

(4) Cleveland vs. (13) Hope Christian, 7:15 p.m.

At Sandia

(3) Atrisco Heritage vs. (14) Manzano, 5:30 p.m.

(6) Sandia vs. (11) Del Norte,

7:15 p.m.

At Albuquerque High

(7) Valley vs. (10) West Mesa, 5:30 p.m.

(2) La Cueva vs. (15) Albuquerque High, 7:15 p.m.

Girls First Round

At Manzano

(1) Volcano Vista vs. (16) Rio Grande, 5:30 p.m.

(8) Rio Rancho vs. (9) Hope Christian, 7:15 p.m.

At Del Norte

(5) Albuquerque High vs. (12) Valley, 5:30 p.m.

(4) Cleveland vs. (13) Del Norte, 7:15 p.m.

At Highland

(3) Sandia vs. (14) Cibola,

5:30 p.m.

(6) Highland vs. (11) West Mesa, 7:15 p.m.

At La Cueva

(7) Eldorado vs. (10) Atrisco Heritage, 5:30 p.m.

(2) La Cueva vs. (15) Manzano, 7:15 p.m.

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