The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Dave Wagner
The Staff of The News 

Foxes outlast Wolverines 52-48


Last updated 1/10/2023 at 5:27pm

TEXICO – Top-seeded Fort Sumner used a strong first quarter, solid free throw shooting and a balanced attack to turn back Texico 61-47 in Friday’s boys championship semifinals of the EPAC basketball tournament.

Senior Clay Norman knocked in five of the defending tourney champion Foxes’ nine 3-pointers and finished with 19 points for Fort Sumner (10-2), which advanced to Saturday’s final against third-seeded Logan. Six-foot-7 junior Cash Burney added 14 points.

“I think our effort was solid,” said Foxes coach Brad Holland, whose team opened the season in a tournament at Artesia with wins over the Class 4A Bulldogs and Class 5A Alamogordo and an eight-point loss to 5A Los Lunas. The only other setback for the Foxes, ranked second in Class 1A, was a four-point decision to 1A No. 1 Magdalena.

“We made our free throws, which helps (12-of-14, while Texico was 3-for-10),” Holland said. “It usually comes down to layups and free throws.”

Wolverines coach Craig Cook was quick to agree.

“Free throws and tons of missed layups,” he said of the main culprits in the loss. “We hit our goal on the defensive end, but our No. 1 goal was to hold them to one shot (per possession).

“When you give a team that good that many chances, it’s not a good thing.”

Fort Sumner opened a 16-7 lead at the quarter and generally kept the margin between seven and 12 points the rest of the way. Texico (9-5) closed to 41-35 on Max Villarreal’s last-second steal and layup in the third quarter, but never got closer.

Burney scored six consecutive points, capped by a 3 from the key, to make it 50-37 with under four minutes left.

“We were having a tough night everywhere, but the ball just didn’t go in the hole for us,” Cook said.

Burney (8), reserve Thomson (7) and Norman (5) combined for all of Fort Sumner’s points in the final stanza.

“We did a good job on (Burney) the first three quarters, but in fourth quarter he showed up,” Cook said. “We were having a tough night everywhere, but the ball just didn’t go in the hole for us.”

Senior Jahvon Askew and junior Cade Figg led the Wolverines with 15 points apiece.

Logan 56, Dora 49 – The Longhorns (11-3) took the lead for good with a 10-0 run early in the second period, then fought off the second-seeded Coyotes (10-2) down the stretch. Logan also handed Dora its other setback, a 54-49 decision in the finals of last month’s Tiger Invitational at Elida.

Junior Brock Burns went 7-for-8 from the foul line and paced the Longhorns with 18 points while junior Kaeden Stoner added 11.

Senior Steven Masini, plagued with foul trouble much of the second half, nonetheless scored a game-high 21 points for Dora, and junior Cole Kircher added 12.

In consolation semifinals on Friday:

Melrose 57, Floyd 16 – The fourth-seeded Buffaloes (8-3) held Floyd to just nine points over the final three quarters. Sophomore Cy Draper scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half for Melrose, while junior Benton Cain topped the Broncos (3-7) with six points.

Grady 75, Elida 68 – Junior Zane Rush erupted for 18 of his 40 points in the second quarter, and the Bronchos (4-4) held off the Tigers (3-8) down the stretch. Eighth-graders and Zander Ciancio chipped in 12 and 10, respectuively. Grady.

For Elida, senior Jose Jimenez finished with 23 points while junior Seth Jiminez tallied three 3s and 20 points.


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