By Kevin Wilson
ALBUQUERQUE — Taylor Bostwick wasn’t going to be bothered by the fans, the noise or the atmosphere of The Pit. Her teammates weren’t going to be bothered by a No. 7 seed. Not when they had a championship to defend.
The Melrose senior fought off foul trouble to score a game-high 22 points, as the Buffaloes pulled off a shocking defense of the Class 2A basketball championship with a 48-47 victory over top-seeded Logan Friday night at The Pit.
Junior Reagan Carthel scored 13 and senior Addisen Dial added eight points and 11 rebounds as Melrose (21-9) knocked off the top three seeds to claim its seventh title in school history and third in five seasons.
Nothing came easy for Melrose, which lost standout Caley Barnard from last year’s title winner and struggled at points. Behind a deep, experienced roster, Melrose had three different players play leading scorer in yet one more Buffalo title run.
“Our guys are going to the title game tomorrow,” said Melrose coach Caleb King, who will soon begin coaching the defending state baseball champion Buffs. “We won in football, these girls won in volleyball. We work for excellence in everything we do, academics and sports. Our community backs us really well; it’s awesome.”
Melrose needed awesome and more to hold off a furious Logan comeback, all after a 12-0 second quarter seemed to put the upset on ice.
Behind a stout press, and Bostwick’s fourth foul with three minutes left, the Longhorns turned a 37-22 defiict into a 40-39 lead.
The Buffaloes managed to survive the final three minutes, which featured four lead changes, with 6-of-8 free-throw shooting down the stretch with Logan’s pressure defense leading to a late double bonus situation.
Point guard Caley Payne scored her only two points of the game with 11.6 seconds left on a pair of free throws. Logan used its final timeout to set up a play, and Carthel held the ball out of bounds after Brooke Rachor hit an uncontested 3-pointer with a second remaining.
“We never really panicked. Taylor got into a little bit of foul trouble, and we lost one of our older ballhandlers. Give Logan credit, they made adjustments against us in the press. We had to make adjustments back.”
Logan, which beat Melrose twice in district play, posted a solid first season under Rhyan Daugherty, who played in Des Moines before starting a coaching career that took him to Oklahoma and Colorado before he returned.
“I went to school in New Mexico, so I knew about The Pit,” Daugherty said. “Coming back 16 years later, it’s still a shocker.”
He noted that he took the team to a quarterfinal game earlier in the week, and some players’ jaws dropped at the atmosphere.
“This is my first time playing at The Pit,” said sophomore Kaylee Foote, who led Logan with 14 points. “It’s a good feeling; I could get used to playing here. We’re going to come back, we’re going to win it.”
Bostwick, who played her fourth and final game on the red, white and black floor, said focus was her key.
“That orange rim is all that matters,” Bostwick said. “Those fans in the back, those TV screens, they don’t matter. That orange rim is all that matters.”