The Eagles soar to semifinals

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The Quemado Eagles have had a mixed season against their district rival, the Carrizozo Grizzlies. Going into their last regular season game, they were 1-1 against each other, and were up for an upset, when the Grizzlies beat them, seeding them second in their district for the playoff.

Susann Mikkelson — for El Defensor Chieftain: Quemado Eagles’ No. 13 Darryn Lackey goes up for a layup against the San Jon Coyotes during Wednesday’s quarterfinals game.

But Quemado came back and reset the balance March 6 by winning the Class B District 4 championship in Carrizozo in a close game that ended 51 – 46 with the Eagles on top.

Wednesday morning, the Eagles showed their team strength and individual prowess again as they faced the San Jon Coyotes in the quarterfinals at Bernalillo High School, resulting in a 73 – 44 win.

“We played a tough defensive game,” Coach David Lackey of Wednesday’s quarter-final game.

The Eagles’ strengths include that they have a number of shooters on the team.

Matt Rodriguez, No. 15, stole the show on Wednesday with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Darryn Lackey was not far behind, with 18 points.

This is not the team’s first trip to the state finals. Though often overshadowed by other teams in other classes, the Quemado Eagles have made it to state every year since 2011, when they won state for their class.

The Eagles will play the semi-finals game Thursday morning at 9:45 a.m., against either Lake Arthur or Carrizozo.

“Both teams we might play are tough and physical,” Coach Lackey said. “Looking forward to a good game.”