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'Excited': Bloomfield High School basketball teams have sights set on postseason


BLOOMFIELD — There's already a noticeable difference at Bloomfield High School as it relates to their boys and girls basketball teams.

Participation is up from last season, the frequency of practices is on the rise and the expectations are on course for an improved season.

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Here's a glimpse at the Bloomfield Bobcats boys and girls basketball seasons.

Boys Basketball

There's both good and bad ways to look at how the pandemic and the rule changes regarding high school sports affected teams around the state.

Bloomfield boys basketball coach Randy Crockett, entering his sixth season courtside, saw both the good and the bad during an abbreviated season that saw the Bobcats finish with a record of 5-6.

"For a lot of us, we didn't know if there was going to be a season," Crockett said. "Then you didn't know which kids were coming back to school, and how practices and games would go with masks and without fans. But it was also good to see how well these kids came together and worked for each other."

Bloomfield found emotional support from their teammates on the bench during the season in which fans were limited at best inside arenas.

This season, with participation up for the boys varsity team, as well as the junior varsity squad, Crockett has reason to be optimistic.

"I think everyone got a little more involved last season, and that built up a bond between them that I hope has carried over," Crockett said. 

In addition to several players who are coming onto the basketball team off a strong football season, Bloomfield will also be returning some key players from last season's roster.

Jeremiah Sandoval, who played a key role defensively and on special teams for the Bobcats on the football field, is expected to join the basketball team soon, as well as Marc Armenta, who played a valuable role as a wide receiver on the football team, also will be called to action for the basketball squad.

Aaron Watchman, who ran for the Bobcats cross-country team this past season, also is back on the court after being named to the all-district team last season.

"We're looking to those guys to be big scorers for us this season," Crockett said.  

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Also expected to be back this season for Bloomfield will be seniors Ryan Thompson and Zack Boehm as well as sophomores Andrew Florez and Samuel Slivers.

"We're looking forward to seeing what all of them can do at this level," Crockett said. "They've all come a long way, and we'll be looking to them as their role increases."

The Bloomfield boys basketball season opens this week at home with Grants before heading on the road Monday, Dec. 6 to face Pojoaque Valley.

For more information about the Bloomfield boys basketball team, including scores, schedules and rosters, check out their official team MaxPreps webpage.

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Girls Basketball

The abbreviated spring season earlier this year went the wrong direction after a win over Aztec in the fourth game of the campaign.

"We had just won the game and we were feeling pretty good, then we got word that one of the people working the game has COVID, and we had to shut everything down for 10 days," said Bloomfield girls basketball head coach Tom Adair. "For 10 days, they couldn't practice, couldn't even be on campus, then had to come back and play five games in six days."

Two of those games came were back-to-back —at home and on the road — against Gallup, who handed them double-digit defeats as the Bobcats lost five of their last seven games, ending the season with a record of 3-7.

Gallup wound up not only winning District 1-4A, but also claimed the state Class 4A title in girls basketball last season, defeating Espanola Valley 63-51.

In fact, recent history would suggest that District 1-4A is by far the most competitive district in the state's classification.

Since 2011, 11 teams representing four of the six schools in District 1-4A have won or competed in the state championship game in girls basketball.

"Our district in girls basketball is the toughest in the state top to bottom," Adair said. "Every year, it's someone from our district playing for the title and there's no one team in this district that could easily go to the state tournament and compete."

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Bloomfield will be returning a number of key starters for the season opener, Tuesday, Nov. 30 at home against Farmington including seniors Chenoa Toledo and Layna Tycksen, who both were named to all-district teams last season.

"They're both really important players for us coming into this season," Adair said.

In addition, Bloomfield will also send out sophomore Danielle Johnson, who led the team in scoring last season, as well as sophomore Aliya Quintana.

"I'm really excited about them this season to see how much their game has progressed," Adair said.

For more information about the Bloomfield girls basketball team, including schedules, scores and rosters, check out their official MaxPreps webpage.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.