Yodice: High-octane starters made All-Metro basketball selections simple - Albuquerque Journal

Yodice: High-octane starters made All-Metro basketball selections simple

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One final bow to prep basketball today as the Journal presents its All-Metro selections for the 2022-23 season.

There was considerable depth on the boys side during this recently completed season, although the first five in both genders proved to be relatively straightforward decisions.

BOYS: I couldn’t swear to this, and I am cognizant of the Bryce Alford-Cullen Neal years, but I would venture to say this is accurate: the 2022-23 starting five is the most high-octane starting group I’ve ever featured in our All-Metro selections.

It’s hard to know where to even begin.

Do I start with the state’s leading scorer, Del Norte 6-foot-1 senior guard Shane Douma-Sanchez, who averaged 32.5 points (and 9 rebounds) last season, sometimes while soldiering through a significant foot injury?

Do I start with Volcano Vista’s versatile Kenyon Aguino (19 ppg, 9 rpg, 3 apg), the 6-foot-7 sophomore who was the best player on the state’s best team?

Whomever I begin with, I love the firepower and talent on this first five.

Another 10th grader, 6-4 Los Lunas guard Jalin Holland (21.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the only repeat first-team choice from last season. A smooth, gifted player, he’s an almost certain future Division I recruit.

Cleveland 6-2 junior Daniel Steverson’s game (20.4 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg) is equally velvety, and his wonderful skill set made his selection to the first team a no-brainer.

The starting five is rounded out by Sandia’s wonderful lefty guard, 6-2 Andrew Hill (16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.3 apg). He could have merited inclusion based on his jaw-dropping fourth quarter performance in the state quarterfinals against Cleveland alone. He scored all 18 of the Matadors points — ponder that ridiculous statistic for a moment — and literally carried Sandia into overtime, where it eventually prevailed.

But he’s on the first team because he was a sensational performer from opening tip in November until the final horn in March.

The second five this season was a nightmare to choose. There were eight or nine legitimately worthy choices — but alas, only five slots available. (I expect some backlash; fire away.)

Ultimately, my second five looks this way: West Mesa 6-3 junior guard Elijah Brody, Albuquerque Academy 6-0 senior guard Kellan Gehres, Eldorado 6-2 point guard Caileb Parham, Hope Christian 6-3 guard/forward Jett Wyckoff and Atrisco Heritage 6-0 senior guard Chris Parra.

GIRLS: Actually, the first-team unit took me all of about three minutes — maybe even less than that — to select. And that’s saying something, because this process of choosing All-Metro teams is usually a painstaking and laborious one.

But from my chair, we had five girls who clearly belong on our first team.

Eldorado 5-9 sophomore guard Bella Hines (who led Class 5A by scoring 30 a game, and who also averaged 8.8 rebounds) was an obvious choice as arguably New Mexico’s best player. Another easy choice was the metro area’s other super elite guard, 5-9 Sandia sophomore Sydney Benally (25 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, 3.5 spg).

On the inside, we have three formidable bigs to round out the first team.

Albuquerque High’s 6-1 senior Leilani Love (19.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg), Volcano Vista’s 6-foot junior Taejhuan Hill (16.4 ppg, 10 rpg, 16 double doubles) and 6-foot senior post Kathleen Obisike of Hope Christian (18.7 ppg, 15.3 rpg, 2.0 apg) dominated on the inside for their respective teams. I’d ride into any gym with that trio scoring and defending in and around the paint.

There was not, I would say, the same quality of depth on the girls’ side this season as there was with the boys once you got beyond the first five. But that isn’t to say we don’t have a quality second five. We do.

Our second team this season features two players from Sandia — 5-9 sophomores Audri Wright and Hope Giddings — plus two more from La Cueva in 5-9 junior guard Eva Love and 5-8 freshman guard Jordyn Dyer. St. Pius 5-8 junior guard Alyssa Maes rounds out the second team.

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