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Boys basketball: A quick look at 2AAAA

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By Mike Cote

Bernalillo Spartans

Record: 9-8

2006-2007: 5th place, 2AAAA (missed playoffs)

Head coach: Terry Darnell

Key wins

Dec. 20 vs. Belen at Capital City Invite, 66-61

Jan. 11 at Kirtland Central, 83-60

Jan. 19 vs. Aztec, 72-35

Key losses

Dec. 8 vs. Pojoaqaue, 64-56

Dec. 18 vs. St. Michael's, 72-61

Dec. 21 vs. Espanola Valley at Capitol City Invite, 73-64

Bernalillo and Los Alamos have played similar schedules this season. Bernalillo has generally beaten the same teams Los Alamos has beaten and lost to the same teams Los Alamos has lost to. In general, Bernalillo has been in almost all of its losses, its only really lopsided loss coming early in the season. Some people, most notably St. Pius X coach Damian Segura, have said the Spartans has improved considerably over last season and might play spoiler in the district if teams take them too lightly.

Capital Jaguars

Record: 9-3

2006-2007: 2nd place, 2AAAA (advanced to state final)

Head coach: Ben Gomez

Key wins

Jan. 5 vs. Los Alamos at Poe Corn Invite, 52-44

Jan. 15 vs. La Cueva, 67-60

Key losses

Dec. 14 vs. St. Michael's at Capitol City Invite, 55-41

Dec. 22 vs. Espanola Valley at Jaguar Invite, 62-47

Jan. 11 vs. St. Pius X, 57-53

The team that's played probably the least-varied schedule in the district. It has seen four of its opponents twice this season. Capital has decent, if not overwhelming, height, with six players 6-1 or above. Marc Moulton and Dylan Chavez, both seniors who play in the paint, are solid. Capital takes very good care of the ball and likes ball-control, half-court offense. The Jaguars also have one of the best coaching staffs in the state, which includes Mark Senteney, who was an accomplished head coach at Mesa Vista and Espanola Valley before heading to Capital.

Española Valley Sundevils

Record: 16-1

2006-2007: 1st place, 2AAAA (advanced to state quarterfinals)

Head coach: Richard Martinez

Key wins

Dec. 8 vs. Goddard at Taos Invite, 82-75

Dec. 22 vs. Capital at Jaguar Invite, 62-47

Jan. 5 at St. Michael's, 44-42

Key losses

Nov. 27 at Gallup, 72-62

Definitely the team to beat in 2AAAA this season, and possibly the team to beat in Class AAAA. Española Valley has one of the best starting fives around and a pretty good bench to lend a hand. The Sundevils have scored 90 points or better on three occasions this season and have a tenacious pressure defense that teams have struggled to get around. The Sundevils set a school record with 26 wins last season. Their big knock is that they haven't had the toughest nondistrict schedule.

Los Alamos Hilltoppers

Record: 12-6

2006-2007: 3rd place, 2AAAA (advanced to state quarterfinals)

Head coach: Alan Kirk

Key wins

Dec. 12 at Belen, 67-54

Dec. 22 vs. Socorro at Ben Lujan Tourney, 77-60

Jan. 4 vs. Roswell at Poe Corn Tourney, 63-61

Key losses

Jan. 5 vs. Capital at Poe Corn Tourney, 52-44

Jan. 15 vs. St. Pius X, 69-65

Los Alamos got back on track with two big wins in its previous two outings before it starts 2AAAA play Wednesday at Taos. Prior to that, the Hilltoppers had lost four straight games against some good competition. They face Capital Jan 29 at Griffith Gym. Capital will come in with the psychological advantage of having beaten Los Alamos already, but head coach Alan Kirk said his team's legs wore down late in the ballgame, which came just a day after a track meet against Roswell.

Taos Tigers

Record: 5-6

2006-2007: 4th place, 2AAAA (advanced to state first round)

Head coach: John Graham

Key wins

Dec. 15 vs. Aztec at Bruce King Invite, 69-56

Jan. 4 vs. Kirtland Central, 67-40

Key losses

Dec. 1 at Belen, 57-39

Dec. 14 vs. Espanola Valley at Bruce King Invite, 84-42

Jan. 5 at Penasco, 61-59

Only a few days before the start of winter sports practice, Taos was still looking for a head coach, having fired previous head coach Rick Apodaca in late October. The Tigers have been spotty at best this season, having a few solid wins mixed in with some pretty ugly losses. Taos' only height to speak of is 6-4 senior Josh Yachinich.