TEXICO — The Texico Wolverines had their hands full most of the night in Saturday’s District 6-2A championship game against Santa Rosa at home. Lions senior Joseph Chavez narrowly missed a last second 3-pointer giving Texico a 40-38 win.
The win allows Texico (25-2) to host Tularosa (20-6) an opening round state tournament game Saturday.
“It was a team effort, especially at the there,” said Texico senior Quinn Winkles. “With my teammates out there it was great to win here at home.”
Santa Rosa (19-8) has to face 26-1 Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces.
Early in the second quarter with Texico at the line and his team just recovering from a dismal first period, Santa Rosa coach Frank Ortiz shouted to his team, “If you want to lose, just put them on the line.” His statement turned out to be only partially prophetic.
After a strong defensive effort in the first quarter, the Wolverines took a 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Santa Rosa’s offense turned opportunistic in the second quarter and, spurred by a late effort by senior Joaquin Bachich, the Lions led 18-15 at the break.
That set up a defensive battle in the second half that saw numerous lead changes with neither team able to sustain an offensive run.
Wolverine senior Marcus Pena came off the bench and hit a quick basket to spark his team early in the second half and stepped up with a pair of free throws as well.
“We just came together and we really had to step it up in the second half,” Pena said. “When the coach called my name I just had to get out there and do my best.”
With 4:15 to play and Texico trailing 35-34, Bailey got a steal in the front court and was fouled on the way to the basket. He dumped in bot,h then followed up a minute later with another pair to make it 38-35. Junior Garrett Foote went 1-for-1 on the at the line and Winkles missed the front end of another to make it 39-38 in the last 30 seconds and give Santa Rosa a chance.
After calling a timeout with 17 seconds left in their own end of the court Santa Rosa’s Gary Agar missed a layup that would have tied things. Bailey was fouled after rebounding Agar’s shot. He made the first free throw and missed the second with four seconds left to set up Chavez’ unsuccessful attempt at the end.
Luscombe said the second quarter killed his team’s momentum.
“I thought we were really good on defense, but offensively we struggled quite a bit, especially in the first half,” Luscombe said.
Agar led Santa Rosa with 13 points and Bachicha scored 10. Bailey was the only Wolverine in double figures.