FLOYD — Seth Bailey carried Texico through the first half, then help arrived in the nick of time.
Bailey scored 16 of his 20 points in the first two periods to help the Wolverines open a nine-point halftime lead, but they needed key baskets from others down the stretch to turn back Dora 56-52 in an EPAC boys quarterfinal game Wednesday night.
In the other quarterfinal contest, two-time defending champion Elida held off a late Melrose charge to notch a 62-57 victory.
Bailey’s rebound basket with 1:42 left in a seesaw fourth quarter put Texico in front for good 50-49, then sophomore Lucas Walthers hit a basket and four free throws down the stretch to seal it.
“We didn’t play good defense until probably the last four minutes of the game,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said. “They’re hard to guard because they have so many shooters and they shoot the ball so well.”
Senior Brett Anderson finished with 13 points for the Wolverines (9-1), while Walthers’ late points gave him 10. Sophomore forward Lathan Lieb led all scorers with 27 points for Dora (7-4), but only three of his teammates scored.
The game had all the intensity of a championship matchup.
“It’s unfortunate we had to see them this early (in the tournament),” Dora coach Ty Thatcher said. “It was a good ballgame; both teams showed up to play, but they got the better of us at the end.
“I told the kids I felt like they competed and we put ourselves in position to win the game.”
Trailing 14-9 late in the first quarter, the Wolverines went on a 21-2 run capped by Anderson’s 3-pointer for a 30-16 lead midway through the second stanza. That finished off a nine-point blitz in 20 seconds that included two turnovers turned into baskets and two free throws by Bailey off a Dora technical.
The Coyotes outscored Texico 15-6 in the third quarter to pull even at 39-39. The teams were separated by five points only twice in the final 12 minutes.
“We kind of broke down a little in the second half, and they worked hard to capitalize when we did,” Anderson said. “They’re a strong team. They have some real good shooters if you leave them open.”
Senior guard Jeremy Butler finished with 10 points for the Coyotes.
Elida 62, Melrose 57 — The Tigers (11-2) led virtually all the way, but Melrose wouldn’t go away and was within a point in the final two minutes before Elida iced the victory with the help of free throws.
Senior forward Cade Cathey scored 22 points for Elida, while senior guard Ryan Best and junior forward Kody Paiz each had 14. For Melrose (4-6), which lost three players to fouls in the final minutes, junior forward Clint Barnard scored 27 points and junior guard Kendal Mudgett added 11
Texico 56, Dora 52
Elida 62, Melrose 57
House (6-6) vs. San Jon (5-8), 4:45 p.m., new gym
Logan (3-6) vs. Grady (5-6), 6:30 p.m., old gym
At Greyhound Arena, Portales
Melrose (4-6) vs. Dora (7-4), 10:45 a.m.
Elida (11-2) vs. Fort Sumner (7-2), 4 p.m.
Floyd (10-3) vs. Texico (9-1), semifinals, 7:30 p.m.