As of about 7:30 p.m. last night, it became official. Both Logan Longhorns varsity basketball teams – boys and girls – are headed to Albuquerque next week for the State Basketball Tournament. The girls won against Coronado Friday night and the boys beat Des Moines last night, and at the end of both games the Logan crowd flooded the court, lifting players in the air, crying, cheering. I don’t know if this has happened before – both Logan High teams headed to State at the same time, but I do know that basketball fever has now reached its highest pitch in our tiny little village (pop. 1054).
Back in January I published a post on high school basketball and how it dominates our New Mexico lives. I talked about watching the movie “Hoosiers” one night after a game, reminding myself how much I love the sport. The response to that post was overwhelming. I got comments and e-mails from Logan alumni from all over the country. I also heard from folks who have kids in 5A schools in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Everyone had a comment about how much they loved high school basketball.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday Logan Schools will dismiss at noon to allow the entire town to head west to Albuquerque. Both games will be held at Bernalillo High, with the girls playing Tatum at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday and our boys playing Capitan at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday. In little towns across the state this morning, parents are waking up kids who can’t believe they actually did it – they’re still excited from their wins in the past two nights, and they’re starting to launder uniforms and pack bags for the trip.
Some families have waited for this day for years. My friend Ladonna Sorrels and her husband Shane have had their two kids in basketball since third grade, and we’ve all watched Tanner and Shana play Pee Wee ball and then junior high sports, marveling early on at their athletic ability and talking about how one day. . .some day. . .they just might get to go to State. Tanner’s a senior and last night played his very last game in the Logan High gym. Shana’s a freshman and extremely talented – she’s a starter on the girl’s team. This week Ladonna and Shane get to watch both their kids play in the state tournament. I don’t know – I think they’re just a little bit excited and proud. . .
My friend Michelle Collins has two daughters who start for the Lady Longhorns, Nicole the senior and Emily the freshman. She brings two signs to the games, one that says “I love my #21” and another that says “I love my #33.” Despite protests from the crowd behind her, she proudly waves first one and then the other sign. I think maybe she’s just a bit excited as well. . .
It’s New Mexico Prep Basketball. It’s our life right now. It’s what’s right with the world and high school kids and families and teamwork and a dozen other things you can only find on the hardwood in a gymnasium. Did I already say I love high school basketball?
If you have a favorite team playing, you can find the State Championship brackets at http://www.nmact.org/. If you can’t be at the game, you can catch some of the action at Max Preps, a website that allows folks to upload real-time scores and stats. Go to Max Preps and search for your school, and hopefully someone at the game will be updating the info there. My nephew Kene did it for our game last night and plans to do it for the state games that he attends.
So here’s to Nicole and Emily and Whitney and Shana and Marissa and all their teammates on the girl’s team, and to Rylan and Hayes and Tanner and Levi and Colton and their teammates on the boy’s team. Make us proud and, more importantly, have lots of fun in the process. This is one week in your life you won’t soon forget.
And yeah, I’ll keep you posted on how they do. Hopefully next week at this time I’ll be posted on how we won the championship games at the Pit.