The New Mexico girls’ basketball District 6 looks to be up for grabs this season at the 4A level. There are some early favorites, but this is one district that looks to be very entertaining.
The Gallup (NM) lady Bengals appear to be the definite early favorite. Gallup was bounced by Clovis (NM) in the second round of the 2009-2010 state 5A playoffs. Moving from 5A to 4A makes them the team to beat in district 6 with returner Justina Prairie Chief, who averaged 11 points per game in her first year at Gallup. Early pollsters believe all other district 6 foes are playing for second place behind the lady Bengals. The web site www.nmpreps.rivals.com has Gallup ranked in the top five for New Mexico in 4A girls’ basketball.
Prairie Chief transferred from the Grants (NM) Pirates program and now will face her former teammates at the 4A level as a district opponent. The Pirates are excited with the addition of new head coach Bill McLaughlin. The lady Pirates only graduated one senior from last season who saw limited court time and return an experienced but still young varsity squad looking for help from a strong crop of freshmen. Grants’ fans expect freshman Tiege Zeller to contribute to the squad by adding some height and strength to the paint area of the floor. Junior Kyla Elkins should have the supporting cast to surprise district opponents. The goal of reversing last year’s district 1-5 record and a return to a state playoff, which most of this varsity squad experienced as freshmen, is possible.
The lady Pirates were 2-1 in games versus district foe Belen (NM) Eagles last season. The lady Eagles graduated five seniors from last year’s squad and may continue to struggle in district play. Belen was 2-4 in district play last season.
Miyamura (Gallup, NM) lady Patriots move from 3A to 4A this year, but proved they can play with 4A competition last year. The lady Patriots logged a win over Grants and made the 3A state playoffs, but lost in the first round. One of their ten losses was against now district 6 rival Valencia (Los Lunas, NM). This should mean that district 6 will be hotly contested and road wins will determine who has a shot at state.
The Valencia (NM) lady Jaguars lost to Belen last season but had wins against Grants, Los Lunas (NM), and Miyamura.
Finally, the Los Lunas (NM) lady Tigers also make the move from the 5A to the 4A level which should prove beneficial. The lady Tigers did suffer losses from now district opponents Valencia, Belen, and a huge loss to Gallup in last year’s campaign-a season where they also only posted four wins. Parity appears to be the expectation this year in district 6. Coaching, preparation, and who can stay healthy are expected to be determining factors for this competitive division. Predictions are (in order) Gallup, Grants, Valencia, Miyamura, Belen, and Los Lunas. The team that upsets Gallup could be district champions and will be seated for state.