Fallen Española player Martinez to be honored

January 7, 2019

The community of Española will come together Thursday to honor the late Cameron Martinez, who died after he was shot in October in a case of mistaken identity, with the retirement of his No. 14 jersey at Española Valley’s home boys basketball game against Gallup.

Speaking at the ceremony, which will occur between the junior varsity and varsity games, will be the person who helped spearhead the movement — Luke Archuleta, a seventh-grader at Carlos Vigil Middle School and the son of Española Public Schools board president Ruben Archuleta.

The younger Archuleta made a PowerPoint presentation advocating for the retirement of Martinez’s jersey to the board during the public comment section of the Nov. 14 meeting, describing Martinez’s personality and what he meant to Luke Archuleta as well as the community. The board unanimously approved the request in an action item later in the meeting.

Ruben Archuleta said his son was a huge fan of Martinez, and even had a poster of the player, who was with the program from 2015-18 and graduated last summer. Ruben Archuleta added that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham might attend the ceremony, especially since Martinez was a featured actor in a political ad during Lujan Grisham’s bid for governor last year.

• • •

It’s official: The Santa Fe Fuego are no longer allowed to take the path less traveled (literally) toward the Pecos League playoffs.

Santa Fe’s independent league professional baseball team was recently handed its 2019 schedule and, surprisingly, it’s perfectly balanced with the number of home and road games. The Fuego will play 64 games between late May and early August.

They’ll get 32 of those games at Fort Marcy Ballpark, each of them coming on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or a Sunday. All but three of their 32 road games fall between a Monday and Thursday.

In years past, the Fuego enjoyed a laughably imbalanced schedule that kept them at home the majority of the time. Rival teams cried foul, arguing (and justifiably so) that Santa Fe was a league favorite because it often drew the biggest crowds.

The Fuego will play just five teams in 2019; Trinidad (21 games), Garden City (20), White Sands (12), Roswell (7) and Alpine (4).

• • •

So just how big was Santa Fe High’s 63-62 win over Rio Rancho Cleveland? Well, the Demons rose to No. 2 overall in the MaxPreps.com Freeman rankings, which the New Mexico Activities Association uses to help determine selection and seeding for the state tournament. That was a jump of three spots. Even better, the rankings now give Santa Fe High the toughest strength of schedule rating in the state (tied with Albuquerque Atrisco Heritage Academy at 13.4). It helps that it has wins over the No. 4 (Cleveland), No. 5 (Roswell), No. 7 (Capital) and No. 8 (Los Lunas) teams and lost to the Tigers and No. 10 Rio Rancho.

That rating might not last long, as the Demons beat 1-6 Albuquerque Academy 74-36 on Saturday, and they take on No. 19 Clovis on Saturday before starting District 5-5A play. The district is not nearly as tough, with only Capital ranked in the Top 10.

• • •

As cool as they looked in person, the sunshine-yellow New Mexico flag-themed uniforms worn by the Lobos in Saturday night’s rout of No. 6 Nevada were an abject disaster for people watching on TV. Jersey numbers — yellow digits outlined in a thin ribbon of red — were impossible to read even on high-def screens.

Still, at least one Lobo thought the new kits should become a thing.

“We got the win, so we should keep wearing them,” said guard Anthony Mathis.

Don’t count on it, but if you’re scoring at home there’s this: Five. That’s how many uniform combinations the Lobos have worn in 15 games this season. They’ve gone all white seven times, cherry red five and once each in yellow, turquoise and silver.

• • •

The redemption tour for recently hired Mora head boys basketball coach Marco “Porky” Sanchez got off to a great start after the Rangers won the Northern Rio Grande Tournament title. Sanchez and the team had just one official practice together before playing and needed to rally from a 10-point deficit late in the opening-round game against Escalante on Thursday.

Sanchez coached at Mora for the 2014-15 season, leading the Rangers to a 21-9 record and an appearance in the Class 2A semifinal, but was let go after the season. The following year, Mora reached the 2A championship game despite losing two starters who did not come out for the team after Sanchez’s dismissal.

His wife, Jacqueline Sanchez, met a similar fate after leading the Rangerettes to the 2A title in volleyball in 2016, as the school district opened the head coach position in the summer of 2017 and she elected not to re-apply.

• • •

In case you missed it: Capital girls lost to Rio Rancho Cleveland at home, 50-33. Alyssa Martinez led the Lady Jaguars with nine points. On the boys side, Santa Fe Indian School beat New Mexico School for the Deaf in the championship game of the Braves Classic by a 61-34 count. Deven Thompson led the Roadrunners with 18 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort, while Bruce Brewer Jr. had seven points and six assists.

Update hourly