Littlefield uses size advantage to top Steers
December 18, 2019
FARWELL — There are certain laws of physics, laws of human beings, that can’t be ignored.
Consider the Littlefield boys basketball team, which has a 6-4 player — Tyler Jones — and three that are each 6-3 — Jonathan Davis, Jayden Longoria and Chris Brown.
Farwell’s tallest player, Jose Rodriguez, is 6-2. When teams are facing those numbers they’re bound to be boxed out more often that not by their taller opponents.
Such was the case in Saturday night’s Farwell Tournament championship game at Farwell High School, during which Littlefield got offensive and defensive rebounds with its height advantage, helping the Wildcats survive a Steers comeback to win 42-35 and earn the tournament title.
Farwell did rally from a 13-point third-quarter deficit and actually grabbed a two-point lead before the quarter was over. But that Littlefield height advantage combined with Farwell turnovers in the fourth quarter tipped the scales — and the tournament trophy — to the Wildcats.
Still, Farwell head coach Shane Perkins was pleased with how his team performed when faced with the challenges Littlefield presented.
“We’ve got fighters on our team, I’m proud of them,” Perkins said. “I mean, (the Wildcats) have some big dudes out there, and they’re tough. It’s not like they’re just big and not very good. They have both skilled post men and good guards; that’s a dangerous 3A team.”
And that dangerous 3A team was glad to come away with a tournament victory.
“I feel really good because I feel like we beat two pretty good teams, both Texico (51-35 in Friday’s semifinal) and Farwell,” Littlefield head coach Rob Ogle said. “I knew it was going to be a really tough game here, and I thought we did some really, really good things.”
Saturday’s contest was a rematch of a Dec. 3 clash of the teams, played at Littlefield and won 48-43 by the Wildcats.
“It was a similar deal when we played ’em last week,” Perkins said. “We had a lead in the fourth quarter and then they made plays, we didn’t. That’s basketball. Close games, one team’s going to make plays, one isn’t.”
Littlefield was up 25-16 at halftime and opened the second half with consecutive baskets to take a 29-16 lead. Perkins immediately called timeout, deciding that his players needed a talking-to.
“I told them that we didn’t look like we were having fun,” Perkins recalled. “We looked like we didn’t want to be out there playing, like whatever time was left on the clock we were hoping it would get over so we could get out of there. And the kids responded because we’ve got competitors.”
The comeback started when Farwell’s Grayson Waldrop hit a three from the left side, soon followed by a rightside trey from Waldrop to make it a 29-22 game.
Not long afterward, Farwell’s Jonathan Mora hit a fallaway three from beyond the left arc, bringing his team within four.
After an 0-for-2 visit to the foul line by Littlefield, Farwell came back down the other way and got an inside basket from Rodriguez that narrowed the Steers’ deficit to 29-27. Mora then collected a steal that eventually led to him driving for the game-tying hoop.
Later in the period with the score still tied at 29, Farwell’s Aldo Galvan drove strong to the basket and scored, giving the Steers a 31-29 edge with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter. Galvan was fouled on the play, and though the ensuing free throw wouldn’t drop, Farwell had put together a 15-0 run to take the lead.
In spite of how the Steers had been playing previously, in spite of their size disadvantage, they were winning.
“You tell the kids to fight,” Perkins said. “We can sit here and complain, I can sit here and complain that their parents produced bigger kids than my (team’s) parents. It ain’t gonna do any good. ... (The Steers) don’t look at the size of the people, they just go out there and fight.”
“They hit some shots. ... I give credit to Coach Perkins; he’s a friend of mine and a great coach,” Ogle said. “He just got them some good looks, and the kids did well and hit some shots. That’s how things can happen so quickly in a basketball game, momentum shifts.”
And it kept shifting. On the Littlefield possession following Galvan’s go-ahead basket, the Wildcats’ Jeremiah Salazer came right back for a driving bucket to tie the game at 31.
With time running out in the third quarter, Farwell’s Austin Hester drove for a basket, missed, snatched his own rebound and went up with it. Hester drew a foul and went to the line for a pair of shots with just 0.8 seconds left in the quarter. He sank both to give Farwell a 33-31 advantage to carry into the fourth.
Consecutive Littlefield baskets gave the Wildcats a 35-33 lead, but Mora punched one in off glass to tie the game at 35.
Littlefield answered right back with a Jayden Longoria bucket to take the lead again, and another Longoria hoop made it a 39-35 game. Longoria’s field goals were the start of a 7-0 Littlefield run to close out the game.
“We were able to make some adjustments defensively and come out with a win,” Ogle said. “Always good to win.”
As for the Steers, they played Lockney on Tuesday night before heading into the Texico Tournament that they won last year.
“It’s always fun,” Perkins said of Texico’s Tournament, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday. “We play a lot of people because it’s out-of-state teams that we don’t normally see, so it’s always fun to play different people. And Texico does a great job with their tournament. And it’s close by, we don’t have to travel.”