By Dave Wagner
Texico is a veteran of EPAC girls championship games.
The Lady Wolverines advanced to another final on Friday night with a 40-30 win over Elida at Greyhound Arena in Portales. Tonight, they’ll meet up-and-coming Dora for the championship after the Lady Coyotes dispatched Floyd 42-32 in Friday’s first semifinal.
“They’ve really turned it around,” first-year Texico coach Ryan Autrey said of Dora. “They’ve got some good athletes, and their coach (Caleb King) does a good job.”
Texico (11-4) took control against Elida with a strong second quarter. Trailing 6-5, the Lady Wolverines scored the final four points of the first period, then dominated the second 12-4 and opened a 21-10 lead when Holly Harrison nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing as the half expired.
Elida (11-3) never got closer than seven points after that.
“We let them get out on us,” Lady Tigers coach Dan Howard said. “We couldn’t find the basket, and we couldn’t block them out (on rebounds).”
Junior Katlin Luscombe scored 11 points for Texico, while junior Nicole Jasso led Elida with eight, including two 3-pointers in the final period.
“We were so tight the first half,” Howard said. “The second half we found out we could play with them, and we got some things going to the basket.”
Texico junior Victoria Richards said her team will be ready to go in the finals, although they aren’t used to seeing Dora there.
“We were shocked they were seeded first (in their bracket),” she said. “But we know we can beat them if we work hard.”
She said she hasn’t watched either of Dora’s games in the tournament.
“Coach tells us he’d rather us just do what we do,” Richards said. “You can’t overlook anybody. Everybody’s here to win.”
Dora 42, Floyd 32 — The Lady Coyotes, seeking only their second EPAC title and first since 1992, moved into the finals with a game-ending 11-0 run over the final four minutes — the first nine of which came from Tearney O’Connor.
O’Connor hit a 3-pointer, an 8-footer and four consecutive free throws to put Dora (8-1) in control. She finished with 18 points to lead all scorers.
Floyd (10-5) pulled even on a 3-pointer by Tori Tucker with 5:15 left, then took a 32-31 advantage at the 4:20 mark on a basket by Veronica Mendoza, who led the Lady Bronchos in scoring with 12 points.
Fort Sumner 50, Logan 35 (fifth place) — Sophomore Sarah Stinnett scored 16 points and senior Racheal Chavez added 13 for the Vixens (7-5), who opened an eight-point halftime lead and slowly pulled away.
The Lady Longhorns (3-8) got nine points from Tiffany Rachor.
Melrose over House, forfeit (ninth place) — The winless Cowgirls, with only five players on their roster, were forced to forfeit when one of their girls came down sick.