Longhorns, Lady Longhorns entering EPAC

The Logan Longhorns and Lady Longhorns both enter the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference tournament with a record of 7-3 and a first round bye.

The tournament runs from Jan. 8-12 with the first round games being played at Melrose high school and the second at Eastern New Mexico University's Greyhound Arena at Portales.

"This program will give us a chance to improve on some of the basics and polish our play," said Rafiel Roybal, Longhorns head coach.

Roybal said the Longhorns do not have the same team which won the 1A state basketball title the year before. He said the team may not be the same though their determination and desire to compete is just as strong.

"We've lost some strong players with graduation," Roybal said. "The younger players are stepping up and responding well to develop into stronger players."

Roybal said he has the team working on tempo control and controlling the flow of the game. He said they are excited at the chance to play so many strong teams in the tournament.

"The tougher the competition the better," Roybal said. "This will help us to become a better team."

The Lady Longhorns have been adjusting to a youthful roster and learning to play as a unit on the court, said Clair Rachor, Lady Longhorns head coach.

Rachor said the youngest members of the team have always had to step up, though the absence of a junior varsity last year has made that transition more difficult.

"They had no stepping stone," Rachor said. "They came right into a faster and much more physical level of play."

Rachor said the EPAC tournament will give his team much needed court time to operate as one unit. He said the girls have to learn they are not five individuals, instead they are one team operating together for the win.

"They are young though we are our strongest in tournament play," Rachor said.

Rachor said the team will work on their press during the tournament, and finishing on offense.

He said the team is not afraid to take shots, though they need to take more time to square up and take a better shot.

"This tournament is going to make us a better team," Rachor said. "It's tough competition early on which helps to develop the team for the district run."

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