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Hobbs Holiday Tournament overview of girls teams

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Hobbs Holiday Tournament overview of girls teams

The Hobbs Holiday Tournament has a long history, and its acclaim has spread far throughout the Southwest. Teams from numerous states have traveled to south eastern New Mexico to compete against the Eagles, with those fans filling the bleachers of Ralph Tasker Arena.

One thing the tournament has never had, though, is a girls bracket despite the 58 years it’s been run.

That is, until now.

The Hobbs Holiday Tournament begins Thursday and features 16 teams, eight boys and eight girls. In it’s first year, the girls tour nament will have teams from the traditional ly strong northwestern part of New Mexico like Gallup, Shiprock, Miyamura and Aztec as well as Texas teams Witchita Falls and El Paso Canutillo. A familiar foe returnimg to Tasker Arena is Lovington. Here’s a small preview of each of those teams:

Aztec Lady Tigers (3-3)

Aztec, N.M. Coach: Robert McCaskill

Overview: While none of these teams have competed in this tournament before, Aztec enters as one of the most inexperienced. Six of the 10 players on the team are freshman Yet, the Lady Tigers are currently even-keeled at 3-3 this year, with the defense allowing the fourth-least points per game (44.2) among tournament teams. The offense doesn’t gen erate many points with 40.9 per game, but it won’t need to produce a ton, at least in the earlier rounds of the tournament. Aztec looks to break its two-game losing streak against Lovington (33.5 points per game) Thursday at 3 p.m.

Canutillo Lady Eagles (8-8)

El Paso, Texas Coach: Ron Ballinger

Overview: The Canutillo boys’ basketball team has come to the Hobbs Holiday Tour nament for the last three years, and now will finally be joined by the girls in its fourth appearance. The Lady Eagles enter their first appearance with just a .500 record, but are hot after winning six of their last nine games Only two teams are averaging more points per game than Canutillo (51.6) in this tour nament, and outside of their season open er, no team has beaten the Lady Eagles by more than 12 points. Canutillo opens the tournament against a sliding Hirschi team that has allowed 62 points per game this season. Tipoff is Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Hirschi Lady Huskies (2-11)

Wichita Falls, Texas

Overview: As one of three Class 4A teams in a primarily Class 5A tournament, Hirschi seems to already be part of an uphill battle by being 2-11 this season. The Lady Huskies are currently on a five-game losing streak, with four of those losses coming by double digits. Hirschi enters with a tournament-worst 62 points per game allowed this year, though it should be noted that eight of the team’s games thus far have come against teams with a .600 record or better. The Lady Huskies are scoring a tournament fifth-best 44.9 points per game, which should fare well in their first-round matchup with Canutillo (46.8 points allowed per game). If Hirschi can find a groove defensively against the Lady Eagles, perhaps it can come away with one of the better upsets in this tournament.

Hobbs Lady Eagles (10-1)

Hobbs, N.M.

Coach: Joe Carpenter

Key Players: Amaya Lewis (Sr.), Amiah Smith (Jr.), MacKenzye Gibson (Jr.)

Overview: Not only by playing in front of its home crowd, but also due to its No. 5 ranking in the state, the Lady Eagles enter their first appearance in the tournament as a heavy favorite. Behind a dominant press and the impressive scoring of Amaya Lewis and Amiah Smith, Hobbs ranks first in points scored (66.6) and points allowed (40) per game among the eight tournament teams. At 10-1, the Lady Eagles are the most likely to make a deep run in the state tournament this season. Their only loss is to top-ranked Cibola, so with every other team in the bracket being at least one class below them, expect Hobbs to fair pretty well. First game is a 6:30 p.m. tipoff against Miyamura Thursday night.

Lovington Lady Wildcats (3-7)

Lovington, N.M.

Coach: Casey Pack

Key Players: Alexis Borunda (Sr.), Hayley Marquez (So.), Anahi Contreras (Sr.)

Overview: The only other Lea County team in this tournament debut is Lovington, and it’s currently in a pretty tough skid right now. The Lady Wildcats, while scoring a tournament-low 33.5 points per game this year, have lost six of their last seven games after winning two of the first three. Lack of size plagues Lovington outside of center Alyssa Dominguez, and she can’t be on the floor for all 32 minutes. In the middle of this tough stretch is a 60-21 win over Ruidoso, though, which is a highlight of the Lady Wildcats’ defense. Even if it doesn’t score that much, look for Lovington’s 46.6 points allowed per game to perhaps come out and lead to a few wins. First chance is against Aztec at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Miyamura Lady Patriots (5-4)

Gallup, N.M.

Coach: Steven Gilbert

Overview: Miyamura will travel about 450 miles to the tournament in search of keeping up its red-hot recent surge. The Lady Patriots enter at just 5-4 this season, but have won three of their last four games. Two of those contests came against teams with records .700 or better, so Miyamura is up to the task of taking on Hobbs in the first round. The Lady Patriots rank second among tournament teams with 41.6 points allowed per game, which will certainly be put to the test against the Lady Eagles Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Hobbs very well could blow out Miyamura from the opening whistle, but don’t just expect that. The Lady Patriots have the makings of an underdog hero.

Shiprock Lady Chieftains (6-7)

Shiprock, N.M.

Coach: Larenson Henderson

Overview: Miyamura has to travel 450 miles, but no team is racking up more time on the road when headed to this tournament than Shiprock. The Lady Chieftains take on an approximately eight-hour trip with hopes of continuing to put their 1-5 start to the season on the back burner. Shiprock has won five of its last seven games since that egregious start, and are scoring a tournament-second-best 53.1 points per game on the season. It’s important to note that the Lady Chieftains’ hot stretch entails a five-game winning streak and then a two-game losing streak they are currently on. But one of those losses came by just two points against the reigning Class 3A State Champion Tohatchi Lady Cougars. Shiprock opens both tournaments with an 8 a.m. matchup Thursday against Taos.

Taos Lady Tigers (4-4)

Taos, N.M.

Coach: David Sanchez

Overview: Taos is a difficult team to get a read on entering the tournament. The Lady Tigers may be showing their true colors as the season grows, and they have won three of their last four games. Taos has averaged 50 points per game while allowing 42 per game in that stretch, which suggests it’s pretty good on both ends of the floor. But the Lady Tigers have allowed more and more points in each of their last four games, capped by a 52-44 loss in their most recent game. Taos is averaging 44.8 points and 44.1 points against overall this season, while posting a 4-4 record. How much more uncharacteristic can a team get than that, at least on paper? We’ll get a better read on the Lady Tigers against Shiprock in the opening game of the tournament.

Burkett Shaw
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