For teams who didn’t qualify for the shrunken playoff field, the 2021 basketball season came to an end last week after a whirlwind six-week season.
While both Los Lunas squads made the playoffs, this meant an end to the season for both squads from Belen and Valencia.
The Valencia girls had the best record of the county teams that failed to make the playoffs, with a record of 5-7 and a 4-4 record in district play, good for a third-place finish.
The Lady Jags, led by head coach Micaela Medina, were all or nothing in district play.
VHS swept Belen and Grants and were swept by St. Pius X and Highland, though the Lady Jags came within two points of upsetting the Hornets, who went undefeated in league play, in the final district game of the season.
It was a major improvement compared to the 2019-20 squad, which finished with a record of 6-20 and only went 2-6 in the district.
The Valencia boys suffered some regression this season after a historic 19-20 campaign which saw them reach the second round of the state tournament for the first time.
The Jags finished the shortened season with a record of 3-9, going 3-5 in district play which earned them a fourth-place finish.
A tough non-district schedule was not kind to the team, as they went 0-4 in a road-heavy slate.
The Jaguars finished the year with a loss to rival Los Lunas at LLHS, 66-34.
Despite their struggles against Los Lunas, the Jags dominated Belen this season, winning both matchups with the Eagles by double digits, highlighted by a 73-37 win to open district play.
The Belen girls finished the season 3-8, 0-7 in district play, a win improvement over the 2019-20 record of 2-24.
Despite no district wins, the Eagles were able to go 3-1 in non-district play, earning wins over Socorro, Albuquerque Academy and Los Alamos in order to start the season off 3-1.
The Eagles nearly knocked off Grants, falling 35-33 in the closest game of the district season to the Pirates.
It was one of only two district games which the Eagles lost by a margin of less than ten, the other came against St. Pius X and was a 46-37 loss.
As a result, the team finished the season on a seven-game losing streak.
It was a difficult season for the Belen boys, who finished with the worst record by winning percentage the team has seen in a decade, going 1-11 and 0-7 in district play.
One of the youngest teams in the state, the Eagles only had two upperclassmen on the varsity roster and no seniors, with juniors Dalton Bland and Oscar Almedio the elder statesmen of the team.
The lone win for the Eagles came in their season opener, as they went on the road to beat Socorro, 40-31.
The team played a heavy road slate, playing eight road contests compared to only four at home.
With many players on the team earning their first experience on the varsity roster this season as well as returning all 11 players, BHS will look to make it a quick turnaround next winter.