Prep boys basketball: LA should make state tourney

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By Jose Corral

The Los Alamos boys basketball team hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2012.
That should change Sunday when the New Mexico Activities Association announces its 16-team field for the Class 5A state tournament.
Los Alamos currently stands at 13-14 overall, finished in fourth place in District 2-5A and was ousted by Del Norte in the second round of the district tournament. Not only should the 13 wins be enough to get the Hilltoppers in, but their win at Belen and against Española Valley will standout to the selection committee.
Playing in Class 5A’s second toughest district will also enhance Los Alamos’ chances of ending its state tournament drought. The Hilltoppers also got a bit of a boost when Taos had to forfeit eight of its nine wins due to playing an ineligible player. One of those forfeited wins was the Tigers’ triumph over Los Alamos on Jan. 10.   
The Hilltoppers will likely be on the road for the first round, as the top eight seeds will host first round games. Los Alamos is likely to get a 14, 15 or 16 seed and get matched-up with one of the top three seeds.

Who will LA see in the first round?

If the Hilltoppers are the final team to get in (16 seed), they’ll likely have to travel south and face Roswell, which is all but assured to receive the top-seed for the third time in the last four years.
District tournament championships that are being played tonight likely will determine who receives the No. 2 seed. In the District 2-5A final, Capital hosts Española, while Belen hosts Los Lunas in the District 5-5A title game. One of those four teams will probably receive the No. 2 seed, and the other three could be scattered through seeds 3, 4 and 5. If that’s the case, Los Alamos will likely face one of those four teams in the first round if it receives better than the 16 seed.

Bracket buster possibility

There is only one team that reached a district tournament championship that needs to win in order to get in the state tournament. In the District 3-5A final, Alamogordo hosts Deming on Saturday (Feb. 25). Alamogordo is getting in regardless of the result of Saturday’s title game. But a Deming win is bad news for “bubble” teams. A Deming title game triumph will give it an automatic bid for the state tournament, and will replace one of the teams who are vying for one of the final spots, which could be Los Alamos.

Class 5A seeding predictions

1. Roswell
2. Belen
3. Capital
4. Española Valley
5. Los Lunas
6. Farmington
7. Alamogordo
8. Artesia
9. Grants
10. Kirtland Central
11. St. Pius
12. Del Norte
13. Lovington
14. Los Alamos
15. Bloomfield
16. Gallup