QCS Senior Writer
The defending 1A state champion Logan Lady Longhorns handily defeated the Mountainair Lady Mustangs 83-33 Friday night, and now move on to the next round of the state basketball tournament in Albuquerque.
“We are the defending state champions and we know there is a target on our backs,” said Emily Collins, Lady Longhorns’ junior center after the game.
Collins said the team has truly began to peak and is playing as a team. She has as much faith in her teammates as they have in her that they can another strong run in the tournament, she said.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are not overlooking anyone,” Collins said. “We know that each time we step out on the court we focus on the opponent in front of us knowing they are the most dangerous team at that moment.”
Collins lead the Lady Longhorns on offense against the Lady Mustangs with 23 points, (10, 3-4).
With the win on Friday night the Lady Longhorns’ will now be focusing on the fourth-seeded Magdalena Lady Steers, who beat the Fort Sumner Vixens 43-26 earlier that night.
“Magdalena has a lot of speed and size that we are going to have to contend with, though I am certain our girls are ready for the challenge,” said Clair Rachor, Lady Longhorns’ head coach.
Rachor said he knows the Lady Longhorns will be able to match Magdalena’s speed and size, and there will be a lot of full-court man defense deployed in Tuesday night’s game. He said the Longhorn girls are going to continue to play their game, take care of the ball and look to make another deep run this year in the tournament.
The Lady Longhorns will play the Lady Steers at 8:15 p.m., Tuesday at Bernalillo High School in Albuquerque.
The intensity of the Lady Longhorns full court man defense was apparent early in Friday night’s game as they took the ball away from the Lady Mustangs and jumped out to a 22-point lead by the end of the first period.
The Lady Longhorns would only build on that lead reaching a 40-point spread by the third period, which by rule kept the clock running and drawing their win ever closer.
Although Friday night’s score did not accurately reflect the heart of the visiting Lady Mustangs, the 12th -seed team had not made a state tournament in 12 years. The fact they made the tournament was a testament of how hard they have worked all season, said Troy Schmidt, Lady Mustangs’ head coach.
Schmidt said the Lady Mustangs played with a lot of heart on the court and despite the score ,he, the school and the community are proud of what they accomplished. With only two seniors on the team, there is a good outlook for the team to return to this stage of competition next year
Schmidt said the Lady Longhorns were on key and pressured the Lady Mustangs on defense and ran the ball well on offense. He said playing such a strong team on a stage unfamiliar to his players threw his players off early in the game.
“You can’t take anything away from Logan. They played an amazing game,” Schmidt said. “All we can do is build on this years success and come back next year and possibly match up with Logan one more time.”