This one was for Papa.
The Volcano Vista girls basketball team capped an undefeated season with a 49-32 win over No. 2 Hobbs in the Class 5A championship game Friday night in the Pit.
It was the second straight state crown for the top-seeded Hawks (29-0), who have won 42 consecutive games.
But this one was special.
The team dedicated this season to the late Mike Brown, a legendary prep basketball coach. Brown was a key contributor to and supporter of the program. His granddaughter, Kennedy Brown, scored six points and had six steals in the final game of her high school career.
“I just wanted to make him proud the whole entire season,” Kennedy Brown said. “That’s what we dedicated everything to, from decorating the gym to wearing purple for Papa. We just dedicated everything to him because he left it all on this court, and that’s where we all learn from.”
Kennedy Brown will be going to the University of New Mexico in the fall to play soccer.
Fellow seniors Nataila Chavez and Jaelyn Bates have both signed to play for the UNM basketball team.
In last season’s championship game, Volcano Vista beat Hobbs after Chavez hit a buzzer-beater from half court in overtime. This year, Kennedy Brown hit a runner just before the horn sounded to end the first quarter.
Bates led all scorers with 18 points. Chavez was held to six points but hit a driving layup as she was being fouled and added a free throw late in the fourth quarter that basically iced the game.
Volcano Vista head coach Lisa Villareal made history Friday by winning her fifth state championship trophy. She now has more titles than any other woman who has coached girls prep basketball in New Mexico history.
“That’s a great company to be in and you know, it all can’t just be done by myself,” Villareal said. “I need the girls. Without them believing what we can do, it can’t be done. So a lot of credit goes to all my teams, from 2012 to 2016 to ‘ 21 and ‘22. They’re all special, and they made it happen.”
Mike Brown’s son, Greg, coaches the boys team, which is 28-0 heading into Saturday’s championship game against No. 1 Las Cruces. There could be more history made Saturday.
Should the second-seeded boys do what the girls did, it would be the first time a school has had both its girls and boys basketball teams go undefeated in the same season.