Monday, March 9, 2009

5A boys basketball quarterfinal matchups at state

Wednesday is the quarterfinals of the state high school basketball tournament for boys teams around the state.

Here's a look at the 5A matchups
No. 1 Manzano vs. No. 9 Eldorado
The Monarchs handled Cibola with relative ease getting 24 points from Ryan Gesiakowski in the process. The 26-2 Monarchs have been solid all season and will get a huge test from Eldorado, which went to Hobbs and won 71-50.
The Eagles have some nice wins this year, including a win at Las Cruces High.
My guess is the Eagles (19-10) will push the Monarchs (26-2) to the limit, but look for MHS to advance to the semis with a 71-63 win.

No. 4 La Cueva vs. No. 5 Clovis
The Bears (22-7) are tough as usual for head coach Frank Castillo. The Bears got 20 poitns from forward Dylan Fritsch in their first round win against Rio Rancho, but Clovis counters with Texas Tech bound forward Jaye Crockett. The Wildcats (20-9) are on a roll late in the year. They beat Hobbs for supermacy in SE New Mexico and advanced to Albuquerque with a win at home vs. Alamogordo last weekend. Look for Crockett to have a big night for the Wildcats in a 64-57 win.

No. 3 Highland vs. No. 11 Onate
The 24-6 Hornets are one of the state's most talented teams led by forward Chad Adams. Highland is tough inside with Adams and Jordan Howard, but the Hornets can shoot from outside as well and if the perimeter game is on, HHS is tough to beat. Highland handled Sandia with ease in the first round, winning 72-53
The Knights (17-12) are a surpise for many to be in the quarters after handling Valley 59-54 last Saturday on the road.
Onate will need another huge effort from guards Isaac Bonnett, Steve Melendrez and Tim Jacobs. And the team will have to rebound well and take care of the ball. OHS gave Highland fits earlier this season before falling 56-47. This game will be closer than some might think, but Highland gets the 65-55 win.

No. 2 Gallup vs. No. 7 Las Cruces
Defense, defense, defense. If the Bulldawgs (22-5)can get it done on the defensive end, they have a great chance of pulling the upset on the 24-3 Bengals.
Alfonzo Hubbard is the do it all star for GHS. He was averging 28 points per game coming into the state tournament.
The last time the Bulldawgs were in the Pit was in 2006 and they lost a double-overtime thriller to Manzano in the quarters. Expect LCHS to give Gallup fits and earn the mild upset. LCHS 70, Gallup 66.

- Felix