By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
The Clovis Lady Wildcats finished the regular season undefeated for the second time in school history. The problem is defending champion Mayfield also finished unbeaten, leaving a newly created seeding committee with the tough decision of choosing the top seed in the eight-team Class 5A girls state basketball tournament.
The committee consisting of representatives from all four Class 5A districts awarded Mayfield the No. 1 seed, leaving Clovis to settle for No. 2.
Mayfield (25-0) beat Clovis 57-49 in last year’s state title game.
Clovis coach Miles Watters didn’t want to comment on being the second seed, but has said there’s no real difference between getting the first and second seed because Mayfield and Clovis are on opposite sides of the bracket and could only meet in the finals. He also said there’s not much difference between No. 3 Rio Rancho and No. 4 Sandia as far as quality.
New Mexico Activities Association communications coordinator Robert Zayas said he couldn’t go into specifics about the seeding process, which is in its first year.
“They did an overall look at the entire team’s success through the entire season,” he said.
Of the other seven teams in the girls 5A bracket, Clovis (27-0) has beaten Sandia, Rio Rancho and La Cueva this season, including Sandia three times in district play and Rio Rancho twice in tournaments.
Clovis also owns road wins over Class 3A champion Canyon, Texas, as well state tournament teams Portales (Class 3A) and Moriarty (Class 4A).
The Lady Cats drew state tournament regular Gallup in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round at The Pit. The Bengals (17-10) finished second behind Rio Rancho in District 1-5A.
Clovis beat the Bengals 56-32 in last year’s state semifinal game.
Zayas did say that Gallup and Clovis were awarded the primetime quarterfinal game slot at the Pit because of a combination of traveling time and money.
Clovis and especially Gallup brings a throng of fans to the games but they also have a a few hours travel.
“We didn’t want to put a team that normally travels well in early games,” Zayas said.
He said the NMAA receives about 12.5 percent of its yearly income from the state basketball tournaments.
Also getting No. 2 seeds were the Portales boys and girls teams in Class 3A.
The Rams (17-8) will take on Cuba (23-3) while the two-time defending state champion Lady Rams (14-11) face Wingate (15-11).
The first-round matchup with the teams with the best combined winning percentage is in the Class 1A girls tournament, where Region A runner-up Fort Sumner (25-1) faces Region D champ Magdalena (27-1).
at UNM Arena
Clovis vs. Gallup, 8:15 p.m.
Portales vs. Wingate, 7 p.m. at La Cueva
Portales vs. Cuba, 4 p.m. at La Cueva
Mesa Vista vs. Texico, 7 p.m., West Mesa
Magdalena vs. Fort Sumner, 3 p.m.
Grady vs. Cliff, 4:45 p.m.
Hagerman vs. Melrose, 3 p.m.
Animas vs. Logan, 8:15 p.m.