Despite relatively disappointing seasons, the Los Lunas High School boys and girls basketball teams were well represented on the All-District 3-5A team with a combined four first teamers and four honorable mention selections.
For the Tiger boys, junior guards Josh Hessinger and Omar Vargas were first team picks in voting conducted by district coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Also honored for his play this season was Adrian Daniel. Daniel, a 6-foot-7-inch senior received honorable mention for his play underneath.
The Lady Tigers received just as many first team nominations and two more honorable mentions than did the boys.
Valerie Martinez, a four-year starting point guard for Los Lunas, received her fourth first team all-district spot. She was joined on the first team by sophomore guard Paige Powers, who was honored for the second year in a row.
Also picked as honorable mention selections were senior posts Thalia Blaylock and Tina Hall and junior wing Venessa Herrera.
Los Lunas boys head coach Hamilton Doyle said Hessinger raised eyebrows this season. “We knew he could score — he led the JV team in scoring last year — but for him to come up and lead the varsity in scoring this season was a big surprise,” the coach said.
Hessinger was a lethal outside shooter who averaged 14 points and three steals per game.
“He really had a good year,” Doyle said. “We weren’t really sure about him at the beginning of the season. He was having trouble turning the ball over. But we’ll work on some things in the off-season, and he should be that much better next season.”
Vargas, who also was a first team selection last year, had an equally impressive season.
“His penetration really came around this season, and his assists really helped us out,” Doyle said of Vargas, who averaged 13 points per game. “He was a leader on the team in a lot of different ways, and next year he’s going to be an even more vocal leader as a senior.”
Lady Tiger head coach Mike Jenrette said Martinez was a key to the team’s emergence over the past few years.
“Valerie ran the point for us for four years, and has been described as the anchor of the team,” Jenrette said. “She has been an extension of the coaching staff out on the court, and that is exactly what you have to have from a point guard.”
Martinez finished her career by averaging eight points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
With Martinez gone next season, the Lady Tigers will turn to Powers as a team leader.
“Paige is one of the best offensive players around,” Jenrette said. “Paige helped out a lot with the ball handling and played some back-up point guard for us this season. She will be an integral part of the future of this program.”
Powers averaged 14 points per game. She shot 88 percent from the charity stripe and broke her own school record this season by making 32 consecutive free throws. She also averaged 2.8 assists per game.
Also worth mentioning, senior Carrie Jones was selected to the district’s All-Academic team.