Lady Longhorns take state

The Logan Lady Longhorns denied the Melrose Lady Buffaloes a repeat bid for the 1A State basketball championship Saturday in Albuquerque, bringing it home to Logan.

CMI correspondent photo: Joshua Lucero

Melrose senior Cara Barnard pushes through Logan senior Marissa Miller on her way to a layup attempt early in the first quarter of the Class 1A girls championship game Saturday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

"I had made my mind up, that I was not leaving that court without that blue trophy," said Whitney Cordova, Lady Longhorn senior point guard.

Cordova said for five years she has put on the jersey stepped out onto the court with the team with one goal, a state championship.

Cordova and her fellow sixth-seed (22-8) Lady Longhorns got their chance to fulfill that goal by defeating the fifth-seed (17-15) Lady Buffaloes 58-51 at the Pit.

"It was different walking out onto that court and looking into the stands," said Brooke Rachor, Lady Longhorns freshman guard.

The Lady Buffaloes had experience with the Lady Longhorns playing them in the regular season and beating them for the district 3-1A championship. They knew their opponent, they knew how they played, or so they thought.

Lady Longhorns coach Clair Rachor made the decision before the game to change from their 1-3-1 defense to man-to-man.

Rachor said they were caught completely off guard, they played us before and expected us to play them same. He said the man-to-man would give his team an advantage over some of the Lady Buffaloes younger players.

Straight away on offense Cordova led the Lady Longhorns charge scoring 16 of her 25 points in the first period.

The defense engaged the Lady Buffaloes at half court and forced many of their shots to be taken from the perimeter.

Many of their shots did not fall and the Lady Longhorns had a difficult time securing the rebounds, which fell back to the Lady Buffaloes. Eighth-grader Reagan Carthey had 14 rebounds and sophomore Caley Barnard had 12.

By the third the Lady Longhorns had a lead of 18 points, though their momentum lulled in the final period as turnovers led to quick points for the Lady Buffaloes.

"I was nervous when they started to come back," said Marissa Miller, Lady Longhorns senior guard.

Rachor said the team was in foul trouble, which forced him to sit Shanna Sorrels and switch back to the 1-3-1 defense.

Miller said the team calmed down and regained their focused on playing the game.

"I had confidence in the girls, I've always had confidence in them," Rachor said.

Rachor said the team may have lulled for a moment in the fourth, though they quickly regrouped and began to play exactly as he had directed them at the start of the tournament. He said they were playing four eight-minute games.

"During that final game with Melrose they won each of those games," Rachor said. "The girls deserve all the credit. They worked all season long and they did what they set out to accomplish."

Rachor said while on that court he took in every moment, not having been there before, and unsure if he would be there again. He said now that it's all over he and the returning Lady Longhorn's will have to wait till next year, to do the work all over again.

"It's been my dream to make it to state and win," said Brooke Rachor "Now we'll have to work hard to earn the right to play for a chance at a championship next year."

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