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Texico slows down because it has to

But Wolverines adapt and win second straight EPAC title

 

It was one of those days for the Texico Wolverines. One of those days where they take home the prized championship trophy of the 51st annual EPAC boys basketball tournament.

The honor didn’t come the way the Wolverines would’ve liked it – running and gunning their way to the win. But it did come, albeit more slowly and grudgingly, after outlasting the Floyd Broncos 38-22 at Greyhound Arena in Portales.

“It was kinda slow and the defense got really boring, but we just had to keep going after them on defense,” said Texico senior Lucas Walthers. “It didn’t matter much to them if they took two minutes off the clock. They just liked to stall because we’re a fast-pace team; we like the game fast.”

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 Floyd (10-1) revealed its plan-of-attack rather quickly, patiently running its offense for well over a minute after the opening tipoff.

And the tactic worked for awhile. Texico (12-0) held an 8-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Floyd got a free throw from Justin Rogers and then a 3-pointer from Hunter Terry at the beginning of the second period to tie the game.

That was with 6:38 on the clock. On the Wolverines’ next possession, Walthers answered Terry’s trey by working inside for a bucket. The Texico senior post player was the next person to score, with a free throw, before teammate Mitchell Harrison also scored at the midway point of the period.

Texico eventually finished off the 8-2 run, a major explosion in the context of the game pace, when a Floyd turnover turned into a Jose Posada layup to make the score 16-10. Senior Seth Bailey made an old-fashioned three-point play with four seconds left before intermission to push the margin up to nine.

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The Broncos were never able to come any closer than that for the remainder of the championship game.

 “I knew that’s what they were going to do. Rafael (Roybal, the Floyd coach) does a good job of that. You know, he wants to run the offense through and make you work really, really hard on defense,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said.

“I told (the Texico players) that when you get into one of these games, you’ve got one of two choices – you can either play this style and do a great job defensively against it,” Luscombe said. “Or you can rush out there, make mistakes and let them shoot layups and that’s what they wanted us to do.”

The game, the last of eight at ENMU’s arena on Saturday, was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.. Because of various delays throughout the day, it didn’t begin until 9:45 p.m..

By the time the slow-paced championship game was over, only polite applause from the spectators greeted the coming of the final buzzer.  

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 “I think their experience showed,” said Roybal of the two-time defending Class 2A state champs from Texico. “They’ve been through six games in the state tournament (in 2008 and 2009), but this is our first big game for us. We made a lot of simple mistakes that was just us being nervous.”

“We really didn’t play that great either, we could’ve played a lot better than we did,” Walthers said. “But, yeah, it’s a win – so that’s pretty good.”

Back to the Bracket!!!

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Click here for the EPAC Boys All-Tournament Team Selections!

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