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KC, Tohatchi girls earn top seeds: Navajo Prep boys garners No. 2

KC, Tohatchi girls earn top seeds: Navajo Prep boys garners No. 2

WINDOW ROCK – As expected, the Kirtland Central and Tohatchi girls garnered the top seeds in their respective state playoff brackets released on Sunday evening.

The KC Lady Broncos host No. 16 Aztec in the first round of the 4A playoffs while Tohatchi takes on 16th seed Crownpoint in 3A.

In boys hoops Navajo Prep was the highest seeded team among the area schools. The New Mexico Activities Association seeded the Eagles (22-4) at No. 2, and they will open against No. 15 Sandia Prep.

KC, Tohatchi girls earn top seeds: Navajo Prep boys garners No. 2

Special to the Times | Lee Begaye
In this file photo, Kirtland Central sophomore Krista Tsingine-Yazzie (left) and Gallup senior Ashlee Duboise (right) jockey for a loose ball in the District 1-4A tiebreaker game on Feb. 25 at Farmington High.

“We were the two seed last year, so we’re fine with that,” Navajo Prep coach Matt Melvin said. “Everybody wants to be the No. 1 seed but at the end of the day you have to win four good games to be the state champion.”

All first-round games for girls will be played on Friday while the boys will start on Saturday with the higher seeded teams hosting each game.

The playoffs will then move to the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas for the remainder of the tournament next week.

The top half of the 4A girls bracket is loaded with KC, No. 4 Gallup and No. 5 Portales all capable of making next week’s championship game.

“We have a pretty tough half bracket,” KC coach Devon Manning said. “There are no cakewalk games. We have to play our best because everything has to be earned.”

The Broncos enter state with a sparkling 25-3 record. The Manning-coached team was tested early in the season, playing the likes of 5A schools La Cueva and Farmington as well as Arizona’s 3A state champ Page.

“We’ve been battle-tested,” Manning said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games. We won a few and we’ve lost a few. We play that kind of schedule to prepare for the state tournament and so I think the girls are going to be confident.”

If the seedings goes as planned, the Broncos could see district rival Gallup in the state semifinals, which will be the fifth meeting between the two state powerhouses.

“We’ll play whoever is on that side,” Manning said. “We don’t have any control of what Gallup does, so we’re going to worry about ourselves … we both have very tough games coming up this weekend and if we’re both fortunate enough to get past those games then we got a tough quarterfinal game regardless of who the opponent is.

“We’re just worried about Friday’s game,” he added.

And although some projections had Gallup (21-8) as the No. 3 seed, seventh-year Bengal coach Todd McBroom was not disappointed with the fourth seed. The NMAA awarded Artesia (20-6) the third seed and they were placed in the bottom bracket that also has second seed St. Pius X (23-3).

“Obviously, you want to try to get the highest seed possible, but there’s a team that is on the outside looking in wishing they had a seed,” McBroom said. “Regardless of where we’re at, all we wanted was a spot in the playoffs. I mean, we’ve won state as a fourth seed before, so it really doesn’t matter where they placed us.”

Gallup’s first round opponent is No. 13 seed Pojoaque Valley, a team that placed second in District 2-4A.

“Obviously, we’re not overlooking anybody,” the Gallup coach said. “Our main focus is on Pojoaque, and we have to be ready for them.”

In other 4A action, Bloomfield (18-9) will host Los Alamos on Friday.

In 5A, Farmington (24-4) was the lone area school to make the playoffs and it earned the No. 3 seed. The Lady Scorps take on No. 14 Los Lunas.

In 3A, all the teams from District 1-3A made state with No. 1 Tohatchi, No. 3 Navajo Prep and No. 8 Zuni hosting first-round games.

Navajo Prep plays No. 14 Socorro and Zuni hosts No. 9 Sandia Prep.

No. 11 Thoreau is at No. 6 West Las Vegas and No. 13 Newcomb travels to Santa Fe Indian while No. 16 Crownpoint is at top-seeded Tohatchi.

Laguna Acoma earned the No. 8 seed in the 2A bracket, and it will host No. 9 Questa while two teams in the small school division made the state brackets with No. 13 Pine Hill traveling to No. 4 Fort Sumner/House and No. 14 Alamo Navajo heading to No. 3 Logan.

Boys

Five of the seven teams in District 1-3A earned bids for the 3A state playoffs with Navajo Prep and No. 8 Tohatchi hosting first-round games.

The Cougars matched up with No. 9 West Las Vegas.

KC, Tohatchi girls earn top seeds: Navajo Prep boys garners No. 2

Navajo Times | Quentin Jodie
Pine Hill Warrior Ezekiel Martinez (3) and To’hajiilee’s Maurice Tsosie (left) watch the ball go out-of-bounds during the District 1-1A championship game on Saturday. Pine Hill earned the No. 11 seed for the 1A state playoffs.

“I think we can contend,” first-year Tohatchi coach Kendall Livingston said. “We’ve hosted first round games before, but we just need to get over that hump and get into the second round.

“We have all week to prepare,” he added.

The district also has No. 13 seed Thoreau traveling to No. 4 Hot Springs while No. 14 Newcomb makes the trip up north to play No. 3 Santa Fe Indian School.

Zuni, the No. 16 seed, plays at top-seeded Las Vegas Robertson.

The 4A bracket features No. 8 Grants, No. 12 Shiprock, No. 13 Gallup and No. 15 Bloomfield.

Grants is hosting No. 9 Silver while Shiprock travels to No. 5 St. Pius X, Gallup at No. 4 Albuquerque Academy and Bloomfield at No. 2 Albuquerque Valley.

In 5A, Farmington garnered the No. 13 seed and the Scorps will take on No. 4 Atrisco Heritage Academy.

The 2A bracket has No. 5 Rehoboth Christian hosting No. 12 Mora. The 1A bracket has No. 10 Alamo Navajo play at No. 7 Legacy Academy and No. 11 Pine Hill at Cimarron.

“I believe we should have been a higher seed after beating No. 8 Cliff on their home court midseason,” Pine Hill coach Earlson Tso said. “That win really motivated our team and we went on a 11-game winning streak.

“Overall, we’re happy to be the 11 seed,” he added. “We can’t wait to have our fans come out and support us. It’s been a long time since the Pine Hill boys have won a first-round state playoff game.”


About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com

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