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Texico girls set for quick transition


November 20, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Sydney Furrow applies defense on the wing to Libby Monesetti during Texico's basketball practice Monday.

TEXICO — Winning state championships takes a lot, so any team that brings one home brings confidence with it.

Texico senior Ashley Hill, and juniors Rachel Phipps and Riley Rohrbach, were parts of the Lady Wolverines’ state 2A volleyball title, earned last Saturday night in Rio Rancho. Freshman Claire McDaniel was also part of that blue-trophy-winning team.

Now, Texico girls basketball head coach Richard Luscombe would like those players to carry some of that championship swagger from autumn to winter, from volleyball to basketball.

“It’s for the most part the same group of kids, so I’m hoping they will do that,” Luscombe said during a break from Monday afternoon’s practice at Texico High School.

Luscombe may need some of that championship adrenaline, considering who has been subtracted from last year’s team that won the EPAC and District 7-2A titles before falling in the state quarterfinals. Guards Baylee Sours and Jasmine Davalos have moved on. Guard Riley Thompson is a senior this year, but suffered an ACL injury and then re-injured it.

But the volleyball players, those champions, remain. Luscombe gave them a few days off after their rides to and from Rio Rancho, and the title they won in between. With those players, plus two others experienced with the Texico program — center Sydney Furrow and point guard Melissa Lewallen — the Lady Wolverines could again be a solid team.

“It’s going to be good when we get everybody out here and everybody makes the transition into basketball from volleyball,” Luscombe said. “And we get ’em all mixed together and get that cohesive nature.”

Furrow and Lewallen were at Monday’s practice, and were optimistic about their team’s prospects for the season.

“I’m really excited, that’s for sure,” Furrow said. “We’re really a close team, and I think that’s going to help us out later in the season. That’s what I’m really excited about — working with the girls and creating that bond.”

“We’re pretty close. I think we’ll be pretty good,” Lewallen said. “There are a lot of underclassmen, but I think we’ve got enough experience.”

Furrow and Lewallen also think being seniors gives them added responsibility.

“Leadership,” Lewallen said, “just to kind of set a good example and show underclassmen how to fix mistakes.”

“Oh, leadership for sure,” Furrow said.

That will likely be a valuable asset considering how young some of the other Texico players are. Cassidy Haakma and Skyler Schaap are sophomores, Ruby Enriquez a freshman.

Carly Gilbreath, daughter of Texico head football coach Bob Gilbreath, is also a freshman. “She’s big,” Luscombe said. “She’s another one who’s got a chance to step out there and help us.”

There’s lots and lots of potential, but also lots and lots of youth and inexperience.

“It’s obviously going to be a challenge,” Luscombe said, “but I’m looking forward to seeing how much better they can become.”

Among the challenges faced by Texico is playing in a brutal district and trying to defend that title won last March.

“Just like it has been the last few years, our district, probably top to bottom, is the toughest district in the state,” Luscombe said. “Because Clayton is going to have a pretty good team coming back, Pecos is state champion and they return several girls, and then Santa Rosa is probably going to be a little bit better. So there’s really not a team that we can say if we don’t play well we could still beat. We’re going to have to play well every night.”

Texico won’t open its district slate until Jan. 31 at Clayton. As for the regular season, the Lady Wolverines were originally scheduled to tip it off at Jal this Saturday, but the game was postponed because Texico’s football team is playing in the 2A championship game at Eunice on Saturday afternoon. So the Lady Wolverines have more time to prepare for their season opener, all the way to Dec. 3 when they hop across the state line to play Farwell.

When Texico does get its season rolling, there is hope that it will be the start of a successful few months.

“I think we can definitely get where we need to be,” Furrow said.

“I think we have a very good chance to be competitive,” Luscombe said. “We’ve got a little bit of size and we’ve got some experience coming back and we’ve got some very good leadership. And so I think with another year of maturity, yeah, I think we’ve got a good chance to be pretty good by the end of the season.”


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