Logan girls earn repeat EPAC title
Last updated 1/12/2022 at 3:19pm
TEXICO - Two years, a pandemic and a change of venue. But the Logan Longhorns were back like they never left.
The defending champions made it two straight titles in the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference girls bracket, using a series of timely runs to outlast top-seeded Fort Sumner 42-36 Saturday night at Texico Sports Arena.
Kyra Conway had 19 points to lead all scorers, including five points in a 9-0 Logan run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and gave the Longhorns the lead for good. Freshman Desta Rose added 15 for the Logan (10-3).
Logan claimed the title for the second time in three years, but the win counts as a back-to-back with the 2021 tournament canceled for COVID-19 concerns. It is the third EPAC title in the program's history, including its win the first time a girls tournament was played in 1976. The boys EPAC tournament started in 1958.
"I missed all of the competition we had and the competitiveness all the teams bring," said Conway, who put the Longhorns up 37-32 with an open layup created off a fake dribble handoff. "I really like EPAC because it gets us started for the season. It shows us what we can do. Without it, it's hard to go right into district play."
Logan recovered from a 13-of-44 night from the field by going 13-of-19 from the line and getting three timely 3-pointers. Two came as buzzer-beaters - Rose hit one to end the first quarter and start a personal 7-0 burst that pushed Logan to an early 13-8 advantage, and Conway's closed out the third quarter for a 34-32 lead the Longhorns would never relinquish.
"We've got some good 3-point shooters," said Logan coach Glynna Strand, who credited her team with late-game poise. "It's just that the defense has been so tough in this tournament. Not many threes on the girls side had gone up. It was fantastic we were able to get some 3-pointers off."
The Vixens, who fell to 9-2, were never out of the game. But they struggled late, scoring just four points in the fourth and going a stretch of 8:35 without a field goal.
"We didn't finish the second quarter well and they made that little run (9-2 over the final 2:26), and you know what happened in the fourth," Fort Sumner coach Ben Segura said. "There's a whole lot of season left. Our young kids are going to grow up, and we needed a game like this.
'We're going to get healthier and stronger. We're at a point where we just want to continue to improve weekly and play our best ball when it matters."
Seven of the last 10 EPAC girls champs reached their state title game, and six of them took home the blue trophy. That's a bonus in the eyes of Conway, who has been cautiously optimistic so far.
"I'm not going to lie," she said. "I believed we could do it, but we have a lot of young girls and their confidence comes down (in some situations). But we've had (alumni) working with us a lot, and it's brought a lot of confidence to them."
In other girls final-round games on Saturday:
Melrose 38, Texico 34 (3rd place) - Sophomore Graci Odom tallied 16 points and the Lady Buffs (7-4) were able to hold off Texico in a nip-and-tuck matchup.
Meantime, sophomore Kaya New paced the Lady Wolverines (4-7) with 10 points.
Grady 58, Floyd 31 (7th place) - The Lady Bronchos (5-8) opened a 21-4 lead at the quarter and stayed in control throughout.
Three players scored in double figures for Grady, led by 16 points from sophomore December Garcia. Also, sophomore Shayla White hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 points and freshman Juanita Ramirez notched a pair of 3s and 10 points.
For Floyd (0-11), sophomore Jona Baros matched Garza for game honors with 16 points, while freshman Nevaeha Brown added 10.
The fifth-place game between the Dora Lady Coyotes and Tatum Lady Coyotes was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols for Tatum.