Seniors Blackmon, Hilburn named to all-state team

Staff and wire reports

ALBUQUERQUE — Two record-setting Clovis seniors were named to this year’s Associated Press Class 5A All-State team announced Saturday.

Senior Brittany Blackmon leaves Clovis as the school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,500 points while senior Aimee Hilburn finished with a school record for assists with almost 500 and third on the career-scoring list.

In the process, they helped Clovis win the state title in 2005.
“It’s an honor,” Hilburn said. “It’s cool to be recognized by the coaches for all the hard work. Hard work pays off.”

Hilburn said she’s said her high school playing days are over, but she is looking forward to the next step. The 6-foot forward signed to play with Division I Texas State in San Marcos, Texas.

“I’m happy to be going to college,” she said. “I’m hoping to make a name for myself there.”

Clovis coach Miles Watters said Hilburn and Blackmon worked hard to become two of the state’s premier players.
“They’re well deserving,” Watters said. “I’m excited to have coached them.”

Joining the Lady Wildcats on the AP first team were junior Madison Spence of Mayfield, Gallup senior center Valerie Kast and Sandia senior Angelina Dennison.

Mayfield’s girls basketball team has been one of the best in the state in recent years, but now is facing turmoil off the court. One of the Trojans’ best players, Carissa McGee, is accused of stabbing her mother and sister. The 16-year-old McGee is charged as a juvenile with two counts of attempted first-degree murder or, in the alternative, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

McGee has denied the charges and is currently being treated and evaluated at the Mesilla Valley Hospital.

Spence, who averaged 20 points and nearly five assists a game this season, was a bundle of productivity for the Trojans this season. Mayfield, the state champion in 2004, lost to Gallup in this year’s finals. The Trojans also were the runners-up in 2005, losing to Clovis in that title game.

“She not only was our point guard, she was also our best shooter,” Maya said of Spence.

Maya said Spence is receiving plenty of recruiting attention from Division I schools and likely has the option of not having to leave home to play at the next level. Spence is the daughter of New Mexico State women’s coach Darin Spence.

Kast also was a unanimous choice, receiving first team votes on all the ballots. Dennison and Blackburn were named first team All-State for the second year in a row, while Hilburn made her third straight appearance.

McGee, a first team selection last year, was named to the second team this year along with Gallup sophomore guard Telisha Joe, Sandia junior Kendra Coveal, Highland sophomore Deeva Vaughn, La Cueva senior Kaitlyn Rice and Rio Rancho senior Stevie Puentes.

Kast is headed to New Mexico in the fall to play for coach Don Flanagan. The 6-foot-6 Kast was an imposing force in high school who averaged 16.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and nearly 7 blocks a game.

Most coaches who watched Kast play at Gallup say she’ll have to improve her quickness and lengthen the range on her shot. Rio Rancho coach Bob McIntyre is confident she’ll continue to improve in Flanagan’s program.

“If there’s anyone who can get it done, it’s Coach Flanagan,” McIntyre said. ‘I’m sure they recruited her because of the old adage that you don’t coach size. She is a big target inside. She has a lot of improvement to make but if she does, it would be a great story for the kid and the Lobo program.”

Dennison averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals a game for the Matadors, who finished 27-3.

“She is a tremendous defender. She has great anticipation skills,” said Sandia coach Susan Kubala. “She’s a tremendously unselfish player who can play any position. She’s one of the few people who has a pure 3-point shot.”
Kubala said Dennison has received a scholarship offer from a Division I school and will announce soon which school that is.

Silver High senior Talmai Aguirre ended her record-setting career at the Class 4A school by being named to the AP All-State first team for the fourth year in a row. The 5-foot-7 Aguirre was a second team selection as an eighth-grader, her first year on the Colts’ varsity.

Aguirre finished as the all-time career scoring leader in girls basketball with more than 3,300 points.

Also on the 4A All-State first team were Megan Tinnin and Andrea Salas from state champion St. Pius, Patricia Malouff of Aztec and Catherine Clay of Deming. Tinnin was a unanimous first team pick and Clay was also a first team selection in 2004-05.