The Clovis girls basketball team got the most it could have reasonably asked for on seeding Sunday.
The boys team? They wanted a little bit more.
The Wildcats (24-2), who had hopes of nabbing Class 5A’s top seed in the state tournament, were awarded the No. 2 seed. They will host 15th-seeded Sandia (13-13) in a 7 p.m. Saturday first-round game at Rock Staubus Gym.
The Clovis girls (18-9), seeded seventh, host No. 10 Volcano Vista (17-9) at 7 p.m. on Friday.
In the boys bracket, top-seeded Onate, which faces No. 16 Hobbs, had a worse record than Clovis at 22-4. But the key is a head-to-head matchup — the Knights defeated Clovis 65-59 in December. The Wildcats won nine straight after that, and are on a nine-game streak since their last loss at Rio Rancho Cleveland, which is seeded No. 12.
After the Wildcats defeated Hobbs 85-66 in the District 4-5A championship Saturday night, Clovis coach J.D. Isler said he didn’t see much justification in making a December game the tipping point for deciding the top seed in a mid-March tournament. But he wasn’t shocked the NMAA disagreed.
“I kind of expected it,” Isler said Sunday. “I don’t know a lot else we could do.”
Isler said his squad never seems to get too high or too low, and the mood Saturday indicated the players would be fine with whatever seed they got.
“We want to play whoever’s the best,” senior guard Lathan Lieb said Saturday. “That (seed is) really just a number in front of their name.”
But a coach never minds having something to light a fire under his team.
“I think the kids believe in their hearts they’re the No. 1 team,” Isler said, “and now they’ve got the motivation to go out and prove it.”
The Wildcats hosted Sandia (13-13) on Jan. 8, claiming a 74-60 win at home. It was the second part of a back-to-back, following a draining 88-80 win against then-No. 2 Eldorado.
If Clovis wins the rematch with the Matadors, it takes on the winner of No. 7 Valley and No. 10 Volcano Vista.
The Clovis girls, who feared they might not get a home game due to a District 4-5A tournament loss to Carlsbad, got welcome news on Sunday. Coach Jeff Reed figured the Lady Cats would be somewhere in the 7-10 range.
“We got the best of what I was thinking, so that was great,” Reed said. “We put ourselves in a bad position with the loss to Carlsbad. We got the home game, and we got an opponent we can definitely beat if we play well.”
The Lady Cats and the Hawks (17-9) haven’t played this season, but Reed said Clovis has fared better against common opponents.
Reed was glad to be at home, and was also glad to avoid the 8-9 matchup — first because it’s never an easy matchup, and second because the winner’s reward would likely be a quarterfinal against top-seeded Eldorado.
Reed said there’s plenty of motivation to win Friday, as they would possibly have a rematch against No. 2 Hobbs in the quarterfinals. Hobbs hosts Highland in the first round.
Carlsbad received the No. 11 seed. The Cavegirls visit Sandia.
“I felt like this is overall the strongest our district has been since I’ve been the coach here,” Reed said. “Carlsbad and Hobbs were much-improved. Carlsbad didn’t lose anybody off last year’s team, Hobbs lost one off of last year’s team, and we lost seven players.”