By Chris Schmaedeke, QCS managing editor
Basketball coaches show no matter how hard their teams compete on the floor, Quay County and surrounding county teams are full of sportsmanship.
From pregame handshakes and interviews to after-the-game pats on the back, there are plenty of examples of it. Especially in the last couple of weeks.
First example was during a boys game between Logan and Tucumcari on Jan. 22. Tucumcari coach John Span and Logan’s Billy Burns met before the game and sat in the stands and talked.
“Sportsmanship is what it is all about,” Span said. “No matter when these teams get together it is a great game, but when it (the game) is over, it is over.”
Burns believes the same.
“This game is always full of sportsmanship,” Burns said. “It’s a great matchup on the floor but the sportsmanship is most important.”
Tucumcari went on to win the game on that homecoming Friday night, 64-51. The game was much closer than that score indicates. The coaches came together after the game and did part of the postgame interview together.
“You will do great in the playoffs. You guys will be there,” Span said to Burns.
“We hope to be,” Burns said.
The two Quay County coaches gave each other the respect they deserve. But this idea of sportsmanship runs deeper than just the coaches in Quay County. Last Saturday night, sportsmanship was once again on display.
District games can be heated and intense. Coaches know that every one of these games count and any win you take it when you can get it. After heated games between Tucumcari and Texico boys and girls teams the sportsmanship and respect was still being shown. Texico won both games easily 71-49 on the boys side and 69-40 on the girls side.
After the girls game, Tucumcari coach Gary Hittson talked about how hard his girls played but also mentioned how good he thought the Lady Wolverines were.
“Was that a college team out there?” Hittson said with a smile.
Hittson gave Texico respect and the respect was given right back to him by Texico coach Keith Durham.
“I give a lot of credit to Tucumcari,” Durham said. “Coach Hittson really has those girls playing hard.”
On the boys side there was more great sportsmanship, especially by Span. Coach Span waited outside the visitors’ locker room to congratulate some players from Texico and waited to shake hands, for the second time since the game ended, with Texico coach Richard Luscombe.
“They are a great team,” Span said. “They are strong, aggressive and very well-coached.”
After postgame interviews the coaches asked each other about their plans after the game — rivals on the court but friends off of it.
Sportsmanship can be lost but basketball teams in Quay and surrounding counties have their teams in good hands.