By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers
ELIDA — After blowing a 10-point halftime lead, Elida was able to hang on for the win the way they always do — behind its two seniors.
Kodi Armitage hit a free throw and Jewlie Paiz made a big steal in the final 30 seconds to secure a 56-52 win against Logan friday’s Class 1A Region A semifinals.
Ahead by only a point with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Armitage was sent to the free-throw line. After hitting the first, she missed the second, but Paiz made a steal on the rebound and hit a layup to put the Lady Tigers ahead by four.
“I’ve been saying that all week, those two will take care of us,” Elida coach Dan Howard said. “And they took care of us in the end.”
Armitage led Elida (23-2) with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Armitage and Paiz are the only seniors on a team with two juniors, a sophomore, four freshman, and three eighth-graders.
“You just have to clear your head and not think about it,” Armitage said of her late free throw. “I knew that if I didn’t make it we were going to lose. Jewlie stepped up, she made a big play. She’s a big, big part of why we are where we are.”
After going into halftime down 30-20, Logan charged out of the break, scoring 22 points in the third quarter and chipping away at the lead.
“Logan came out on fire,” Howard said. “I’ve never seen a team shoot like they shot in the second half. We couldn’t shut down number 25 (Raynee Rachor). We didn’t have an answer for her.”
Rachor, a senior, scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Lady Longhorns (15-15).
With Friday’s win, the Lady Tigers secured a berth in the state tournament in Albuquerque next week.
Logan coach Russell Feerer said he was proud of how well his team played against a heavily-favored opponent.
“We didn’t get a lot of respect coming into this year,” Feerer said. “That’s what we strove for all year; to get a little respect, to put ourselves in a position like this. And we were there.”
The Lady Tigers would be working on a perfect season if not for the Texico Lady Wolverines, who handed Elida its losses.
Even with the blemishes, The Lady Tigers will head to Albuquerque with one of the best records in Class 1A.
“It feels good,” Armitage said. “It’s my senior year, you couldn’t end it any better. We have a good shot.”