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Texico hopes to be one game better in 2A


November 28, 2018

TEXICO — It doesn’t matter how many games you win if you don’t win the last.

Man oh man, did Texico’s boys basketball team learn that the hard way last March at the Pit in Albuquerque. The Wolverines soared into that 3A state title game against Pecos with a 29-0 record, trying to go 30-for-30 while joining Bobby Knight’s 1976 Indiana Hoosiers in the ranks of undefeated basketball champions.

The Wolves, though, emerged from that game 29-1. A fine record under different circumstances, but for Texico it represented a bitter end to what had been a spectacular winter that included EPAC and district titles.

This year, the Wolverines aren’t thinking about going undefeated. They want to reach another state championship game and go 1-0 in that. In fact, head coach Ty Thatcher doesn’t even want to compare last year’s apples to this year’s oranges.

“It’s awfully early to compare and contrast on things,” Thatcher said after Monday afternoon’s practice. “I think that we don’t want to dwell on the mistakes that we made last year, but definitely put ourselves in position to come out on top (this season). It’s a totally different style of team, a totally different dynamic between them.”

Senior point guard Dalton Thatcher is also focused on this season, which began Saturday with an 84-58 victory over Jal and continued Tuesday night against Farwell. But, that doesn’t mean the younger Thatcher has forgotten about how last season ended.

“It still hurts,” he said. “It happens. You’ve got to play through it. Yeah, it motivates us who were on the varsity last year to go back and win that final game.”

Texico will be competing for a 2A championship this season after the state alignments were reshuffled. And the Wolverines will vie for that crown without Nathan Phipps, one of the region’s most dominant post players.

Another starting post, Paden McDermid, has also moved on, as has starting small forward Ben Crist.

Along with Thatcher (5-11, 175), senior guard/forward Skyler Davis (6-4, 178), senior post Cole Rohrbach (6-0, 194) and junior guard Luke Phipps (6-3, 172) are back from last year’s regular rotation. Though Thatcher and Davis provide a nice scoring punch, Rohrbach may be the most intriguing returnee, as he tries to give Texico a strong inside presence.

“An undersized post,” Coach Thatcher said, “but he does a great job for us, high basketball I.Q.”

Junior Ruger Horton (6-3, 191) will also be looking to bolster Texico’s inside game. “He does some good things,” Coach Thatcher said. “He’s got some length and size.”

The Wolverines coach is expecting significant contributions from sophomore post David Davalos (6-2, 191) and senior forward Isaac Ortiz (6-0, 205), among others who might be able to step in and step up.

“We’re always looking for somebody to come out of the junior varsity ranks,” Coach Thatcher said. “We’ll play pretty deep through the midseason and see what we have ... what they bring to the table.”

As for getting another crack at Pecos, Texico won’t have to wait until March. Realignment has dropped the Wolverines and Panthers into District 7-2A together, with Clayton and Santa Rosa in there too.

“I feel like there’s a really good chance that all four teams in our district could be the top four teams in the state,” Coach Thatcher said, “which doesn’t happen very often.”

He thinks his team can outlast all 2A contenders, thinks the Wolverines are still able to compete for that state crown, that elusive blue trophy.

“Oh yeah,” Coach Thatcher said. “There’s offense there available, there’s talent there available. We don’t have the dominant presence inside that we had last year with Nathan, and so we’ve got to come up with different ways that we score. The games that we were very successful in last year we got out in open court and really ran and got in position to get the ball inside. And we’ll still do that, we’ve just got to use some different tactics to get where we want to be.”

“We’re going to have to work, earn it, every time we step on the floor, and get better every practice and see how it goes from there,” Dalton Thatcher said. “But we have the capability to be really good this year, just like last year. And our plan is to finish it out.”


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