BERNALILLO — Fort Sumner need a fourth-quarter rally — and a little good fortune — to reach the semifinals of the Class 1A state basketball tournament for the first time in nearly three decades.
Berry Stinnett scored 24 points and Rawley Stallard fueled the late surge as the fifth-seeded Foxes held on to to beat Tatum 61-60 Wednesday in a quarterfinal game at Bernalillo High School.
Fort Sumner (19-9) takes on top-seeded and defending champion Cliff (27-2) today in the semifinals.
The Foxes’ last state semifinal appearance was in 1980 in Class 2A, when they lost to Penasco.
“Right now it’s about having fun,” Fort Sumner coach John Wooton said. “The pressure is off and we’re playing for the love of the game. Even the kids on the bench who didn’t play or didn’t play much are really into the game. It’s great to see them enjoying it.”
Stallard, a 6-foot-1 junior post, scored nine-straight points over during a two-minute stretch midway through the final period as Fort Sumner erased a 48-41deficit.
A pair of Stinnett free throws gave Fort Sumner its biggest lead of the game at 61-55 with 40 seconds to go.
Hunter Ray scored on a layup, and after a Foxes turnover, Ryan Glenn hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 3.9 seconds left to make it 61-60.
Fort Sumner (19-9) turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound play, but Ray was called for traveling under the basket with less than a second left.
“Our press really worked well,” Wooton said. “It got us back into it.”
Fort Sumner trailed 29-21 at halftime.
Stallard finished with 17 points and Christian Pettigrew added 10, including three 3-pointers.
Logan Medlin led Tatum (21-10) with 14 points, and Glenn and Ray each finished with 13.