Two high school basketball players from Valencia County were named to the Associated Press All-State second team. Belen High School senior David Hull was picked for the boys Class 4A team and Los Lunas sophomore Paige Powers was selected to the girls Class 5A team.
Voting was conducted by coaches statewide in each classification.
The 6-foot-4-inch Hull, a versatile player who played guard, wing or forward, earned honors despite missing five weeks of the season after breaking both wrists in early December. Eagle coach David Medina said the injury may have cost Hull a spot on the first team.
“That hurt him big time,” Medina said of Hull’s injury. “Plus, it hurt our (team) chemistry.”
Hull returned to the team in time for the district season. Led by Hull, who averaged 20 points per game, the Eagles finished the season 12-11 overall, 5-3 in district play, and tied for second place in the standings. But they came up one game short of their goal of making it to the state playoffs. Hull was later picked as the Most Outstanding Player in District 3-5A.
“It is a good accomplishment,” Hull said, “but it doesn’t make up for not making it to state.”
Still, the selection was well-deserved, said Medina. “It’s a heck of an honor. That’s something David has worked very hard for, and he’s come a long way. He started on varsity for three years and grew up quick. We turned to him to do a lot of the scoring.”
Medina also praised Hull for being a team player. He said, often times, when a team has a superstar like Hull, the other players become jealous. That didn’t happen with the Eagles. Hull was able to keep his ego in check.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think he should have made the first team. “I think the injury was the main reason I didn’t get first team, because I missed half the season,” he said.
The honors are over for Hull. On Saturday, he will be playing in the Albuquerque area East-West Metro All-Star Game in the Pit. And in July, in the Pan-American Center in Las Cruces, he will play in the New Mexico Coaches Association’s annual North-South All-Star Game.
“It will be fun playing with some of the best players from across the state,” he said.
After that, Hull hopes to go on to play basketball in college. There’s interest from Eastern New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands and Adams State. Right now, he’s leaning toward Southern Colorado.
Powers was grateful to get the news of her selection but puts her team ahead of personal accolades. “I’m honored that I made something like this, but, when it comes right down to it, it’s more important to make it to state,” she said.
The Lady Tigers, who finished the season with a 12-14 overall record, won one district playoff game but came up two wins short of making it to state. Still, Powers was an integral part of the Los Lunas offense at the off guard position.
“A lot of our offense goes through the two position. That’s the position where we have our most capable scorer,” said Mike Jenrette, her coach the last two seasons.
The super sophomore averaged 14 points and 2.8 assists per game last season.
“She responded well to the changes in the offense and handled the ball more this season. She was instrumental at breaking the press and was our best free-throw shooter. When it came down to crunch time, (Paige) is the type of kid you wanted to have there.”
Powers was an 88 percent free-throw shooter last season and broke her own school record by sinking 32 in a row.
Powers was selected to the All-District 3-5A team the past two seasons. She also was first-team all-district in soccer as a midfielder as a freshman. When the Lady Tigers goalkeeper was injured last fall, Powers stepped in as goalie and earned district honorable mention.
Powers said she enjoys both sports but gives the edge to basketball. “I really love basketball, and I love soccer,” she said.
Though college is still a few years away, Powers said she hopes to secure a scholarship in one sport or the other. “I think my best chance is in basketball,” she said.
Powers said she plans to play a lot of AAU basketball this summer under coach Bryan Smith. Her mother, Pat Powers, serves as assistant coach of her summer team as well as the varsity soccer coach at LLHS.
Class 5A girls
First team: Beky Preston, Sr., La Cueva; Adrianne Ross, Jr., Hobbs; Kim Neff, Sr. Sandia; Lilly Hernandez, Jr., Las Cruces; Shauna Snyder, Jr., Cibola; Brio Rode, Soph. Rio Rancho
Second team: Ana Valtierra, Sr., Anthony Gadsden; Kaitlyn King, Jr., La Cueva; Tanya Bailey, Sr., Gallup; Megan Rice, Jr., La Cueva; Paige Powers, Soph., Los Lunas
Class 4A boys
First team: Daniel Lovato, Sr., St. Pius X; Willie Hamilton, Sr., Las Cruces Oñate; Terence Mirabal, Sr., Santa Fe Capital; Scott Koller, Sr., Albuquerque Academy; Devon Manning, Soph., Kirtland Central
Second team: Adam Grimes, Sr., Farmington; David Hull, Sr., Belen; Charles Campolla, Sr. Las Cruces Oñate; Randy Azure, Sr., Las Cruces Oñate; Dax Crum, Jr., Kirtland Central
(News-Bulletin staff writer Tony McClary contributed to this story)