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Early season hoops polls list several local teams among best in state


Early season coaches polls have Lady Broncos atop Class 4A, Navajo Prep boys earning respect in 3A

FARMINGTON − Coaches polls are often subjective, based on factors like quality wins, strength of schedule and depth of respective rosters.

All three of those factors are good examples of why the Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team has the top spot in Class 4A in the most recent coaches poll, released earlier this week by the NMOT.

Sports polls, especially early in a particular season, can also have much to do with past success.

The Lady Broncos, coming off a state championship last season, are off to a 5-0 start this season, with a tournament title already under their belt in Page, Ariz., as they prepare for a second tournament this weekend in Moriarty.

Receiving 16 of a possible 20 first place votes, Kirtland Central has a decided advantage in the recent poll ahead of District 1-4A rival Gallup, a team that received the remaining four first place votes.

Hope Christian, Valencia and Highland round out the top five girls basketball teams in the Class 4A poll.

Still, while poll results can prove to be a talking point for many, head coach Devon Manning doesn't want them to be a distraction for the team going forward.

"The polls don't mean anything to me," Manning said. "In my opinion, we're not playing like the top team. We still have a lot of holes to fill. It's flattering, but ultimately the polls aren't a factor for us."

The Lady Broncos will try to keep their unbeaten season intact when they take part in the Al Armendariz Classic at Capital High School in Santa Fe this weekend.

In Class 3A, the Navajo Prep Lady Eagles, also coming off a tournament title last weekend and with a record of 4-1 this season, are sitting at number four in the most recent coaches poll, trailing defending state champion Robertson, Santa Fe Indian School and Tohatchi.

The Lady Eagles took home top prize last weekend in the Jerry Richardson Lady Chieftain Invitational at Shiprock High School and will be back in tournament action this weekend at Capital High School in Santa Fe.

In Class 5A, the Farmington High Lady Scorpions, with a record of 6-0 to start the season, are currently ranked fourth in the state behind Hobbs, Volcano Vista and district 2-5A rival Sandia. The Scorpions received one first place vote, while Hobbs received the majority of first place nods, with 15 of the 21 selections.

Farmington, coming off a tournament title last weekend at Gallup, reached the Class 5A semifinals last season before losing to eventual state champion Volcano Vista.

"The most important poll is the one at the end of the season," said Lady Scorpions head coach Tom Adair. "The bottom line is we have to keep working hard. No one is giving us anything."

Navajo Prep boys squad top local team in latest polls

In boys basketball, the Navajo Prep Eagles are earning a lot of respect, currently ranked third in the most recent coaches poll. The Eagles trail only St. Michael's and Robertson in the poll and earned four of a potential 16 first-place votes.

Navajo Prep was knocked out of the Class 3A playoffs by St. Michael's last season, and coach Matt Melvin is not shying away from the competition. They have opened this season with a 4-0 mark including a tournament championship last weekend in Hot Springs.

"We're ready to take on any and all comers this season," Melvin said last week. "The loss in the playoffs last year left a bad taste for us and we're more motivated and have shown we can do the work to succeed."

The Kirtland Central Broncos currently have the edge among local teams in the most recent Class 4A rankings. The Broncos entered the week ranked eighth in the state.

In Class 5A, the Farmington Scorpions, coming off a win Tuesday night over Kirtland Central, entered the week ranked outside the top 10 in the state, with district rivals Sandia, Eldorado, La Cueva and West Mesa all ranked inside the top ten.

For more information about the high school basketball coaches polls, log on to NMOT.com