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Texico makes adjustments, tops Clayton


February 19, 2020

TEXICO — When your offense isn’t working, it’s time for Plan B.

In the case of last Saturday night’s Clayton/Texico boys basketball game, Plan B for the Wolverines was good defense that shut down the Yellow Jackets while transitioning to offensive opportunities for Texico.

Eventually, Plan A was back in use, as the Wolverines’ found their offensive rhythm and rolled to a 67-37 victory at Texico Sports Arena, ending their recent losing streak at three. They also improved their overall record to a solid 14-7, but earned just their second District 7-2A victory, moving to 2-3 in that column.

Plan B did the trick.

“I knew we were probably going to be slow-going in this game,” Texico head coach Craig Cook said, “because I told them, ‘I want you to make sure that you don’t just score off fast breaks. We’re going to score off of ball movement, we’re going to score off all of our primary offenses. We’ve been handling that the last couple of days in our practice sessions, making sure that we’re disciplined in our offense. It took a little while, but it finally came around.”

“Everything runs off of our defense,” Wolverines senior guard Luke Phipps said after scoring a game-high 17 points. “Once we get stops, our offense gets going. So we have to start with our defense every game.”

It was just 19 seconds into Saturday’s game when sophomore guard Cade Collins hit a pair of free throws to give Texico a 2-0 edge, but that remained the score for three more minutes.

Phipps finally hit a turnaround shot with 4:38 to go in the first quarter, doubling the lead to 4-0.

Clayton sophomore swingman A.J. Quintana scored off a back-door cut to put Clayton on the board before Texico notched six straight points — a short pull-up jumper by Phipps, a right-arc trey from freshman Jahvon Askew, and a Phipps free throw — that made it a 10-2 game with 2:23 left in the first quarter.

A Dustin Poling layup and two free throws from Erik Tarin drew Clayton within 10-6 by quarter’s end.

It was a slim 10-9 lead for the Wolverines early in the second before they started pulling away. Ruger Horton’s one-handed turnaround off glass, a David Davalos fast-break layup ending a possession created by an Askew defensive rebound, and three-point plays completed at the line by Phipps and Collins, quickly gave Texico a 20-9 lead.

The Wolverines maintained a double-digit advantage throughout most of the second quarter’s remainder, but a Yellow Jacket run punctuated by Kevin Fernandez’s fast-break layup, had the margin down to 26-19 with less than two minutes left in the half.

Following a Texico timeout, Anders Nelson drove for a bank shot to make it 28-19, and with 1:16 left in the half, Askew hit a layup, was fouled in the process, and sank the free throw to give Texico a 31-19 lead.

By halftime, the Wolverines had stretched their advantage to 35-21, and kept on stretching in the second half. Davalos scored the third quarter’s first basket, which had the Wolverines on their way again.

It became a 20-point game for the first time at the third quarter’s 3:15 mark, when Phipps scored to give Texico a 43-23 lead. An Askew putback, a Manuel Loera driving hoop, and a flip-in by Davalos made it 49-23, completing a 14-2 run to start the third quarter and an overall 18-2 surge that had begun late in the second.

Texico led 52-29 at the end of the third quarter and cruised through the fourth, eventually sending Clayton to records of 6-16 overall and 0-5 district.

Davalos and Askew added 14 points each for the Wolverines.

“We got better at the things we’ve been not executing in the past few games that we’ve played,” Cook said. “We’ve just got to continue that from here on out. We’re still young; we’ve got a mixture of kids that have never run the things that we run. It’s just a learning process every day.”

“It’s just another game to get better,” Phipps said. “That’s what we’ve been working on every day — getting a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better. This was just one of those days.”

Lady Wolverines on the rise

Texico’s girls basketball team moved above .500 overall (11-10) with last Saturday’s 47-35 home win over Clayton.

More importantly, though, the Lady Wolverines boosted their District 7-2A record to 4-1, tied with Pecos atop the district standings heading into this Friday night’s showdown with the Lady Panthers at Texico Sports Arena.

The Lady Wolverines did their part to make this Friday’s finale intriguing with last Saturday’s victory, fueled by Ashley Hill’s game-high 27 points, including 17 in the first half.

Rachel Phipps added 12 total points for Texico. Mandy Crisp topped Clayton (13-12, 2-3) with 13 points.

The Lady Yellowjackets actually led 18-13 after one quarter, before Texico stormed back in the second to forge a 29-all tie by halftime. 11 second-quarter points from Hill aided the Lady Wolverines’ cause.

Texico won a low-scoring third quarter 7-2 and a low-scoring fourth 11-4, holding the Lady Yellowjackets to six total points in the second half.

Texico emerged with its second straight win, and its fourth in the last five games. The Lady Wolverines’ only loss during that stretch was in double overtime — a 60-51 setback at Pecos on Feb. 7.

Friday’s rematch is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.


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