For the second year in a row, Los Lunas will serve as host to Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) New Mexico State Girls Basketball Championships. The tournament, which will be played at several venues throughout the village, begins Friday and ends Sunday.
Champions will be crowned in seven age divisions. About 50 teams will compete, including eight from Los Lunas.
“It’s the biggest it’s been in a number of years,” said Bryan Smith, who coached one of the Los Lunas teams to a second-place finish a year ago. “There are 10 more teams than there were last year. It keeps growing.”
The tournament, which previously was held in Clovis for a dozen or so years, had grown stagnant. Now that the tournament has been moved to Los Lunas, the central location has attracted more teams from the Albuquerque area.
The biggest division is the 16-and-under bracket, which includes 10 teams.
Smith’s Desert Valley Tigers will be one of the favorites. His team has won two AAU state championships over the past four years and placed second twice. Last year, they lost the finals to the El Paso Lady Swoops.
The Tigers play their first game at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the high school against Albuquerque’s Liberty. Another Los Lunas team in the 16-and-under division, the Sting, will await the winner of an earlier game and play its first game at 8:15 p.m., also in the high school gym.
The opening games for other local teams are as follows:
U-15: Los Lunas Pacers vs. Lordsburg, 10 p.m., at LLHS
U-13: Los Lunas Liberty vs. Lea County Flames, 4:45 p.m., at LLHS auxiliary gym
U-12: Los Lunas Tigers vs. Santa Fe Heat, 9:45 a.m., at LLHS auxiliary gym
U-11: Los Lunas Blaze vs. Ruidoso Starlets, 3 p.m., at Los Lunas Middle School; Los Lunas Rockers vs. Clovis Blue Devils, 6:30 p.m., at LLMS
U-10: Los Lunas Rockers vs. Sun City Sparks, 11:30 a.m., at Daniel Fernandez Youth Center