ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Academy had one of the most dominant stretches in the history of New Mexico high school basketball in the early 90s. The Chargers won six straight championships from 1989-1994 and made nine consecutive title game appearances, but there hasn’t been much winning for the program since.
Academy struggled heavily over the last decade, but a coaching change to Marcos CdeBaca got the Chargers back on track.
Last year (CdeBaca’s first year), Academy went into the state tournament as the five seed and the team fell to St. Pius in the quarterfinals. With a plethora of returners this season, Academy went 23-3 in the regular season and secured the top seed in the upcoming tournament.
“We’ve tried to establish a culture,” said CdeBaca. “A culture of winning, a culture of doing things the right way, a culture of the process not the result. If you pay attention to the process, the results will take care of themselves. It’s all about the matchups, and we like the matchup in our first round.”
The Chargers open the tournament with Goddard at home on Saturday, and with a win, the team advances to the quarterfinals at the Pit. It is a goal that CdeBaca gave to his team the day he was hired and something that has given the Academy belief that it can once again bring home the blue trophy.
“It’s a goal everyone has, especially growing up here, the big thing is always getting to the Pit,” senior forward AJ Rivera said. “We want to get to the Pit, and I think we have a great opportunity.”
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“We’re all really motivated to do something and to put another championship on our wall, so we always look back at history with the Brown brothers and saw their greatness when they were here,” said senior guard Kellan Gehres. “We want to keep adding to it, keep adding history, and keep putting state championships on our walls.”