Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Longhorns take 1st & 2nd at annual EPAC tournament


January 13, 2015

QCS and CMI Staff reports

Logan Longhorns senior Wyatt Strand poured in 33 points Saturday night to help the Longhorns rally from a five-point halftime deficit for a 69-55 victory over

Texico’s Wolverines, giving Logan its first EPAC crown since 2006.

The championship game drama unfolded at Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena in Portales.

“He played well, and we didn’t do a good job of defending him,” Wolverines coach Scott Karger said of Strand.

The top-seeded Longhorns (11-2) outscored Texico 21-6 in the third quarter to open a 49-39 lead and were up by 20 points late in the game.

“We couldn’t make a thing happen; that’s the frustrating part,” Karger said. “They (Longhorns) came out and shot the ball well, and we didn’t (in the second half).”

Senior Wesley Gudgell gave Strand plenty of support with 21 points.

“It is a tremendous win and a great feather in the hat of our program,” Randy Robertson, Longhorns head coach.

Robertson said the Longhorns benefited a lot from the tournament. They were able to play several strong varsity teams and had to overcome different adversities against each team.

The tournament also gave the Longhorns their first look at Dora, a district opponent.

Robertson said the Dora squad is well-coached with players who can score from the perimeter and drive the ball to the basket.

Robertson said both Grady and Dora were a good test for the Longhorns, and he expects both ball clubs to improve as the season progresses. The tournament championship against the Wolverines was a good measure for the team and the tough games that lie ahead, he said.

The Longhorns will play Thursday at Wagon Mound (8-3) and Saturday at Springer against the Red Devils (5-3), a team that the Longhorns split wins with last year.

Game time: 5 p.m., Thursday at Wagon Mound.

The Logan Lady Longhorns (9-3) finished second in the EPAC tournament Saturday night with a 66-48 loss to the Melrose Lady Buffaloes at the Greyhound Arena in Portales.

Logan still has several players from its 2012-13 squad that beat Melrose in the then-Class 1A state final.

In scoring, the Lady Longhorns were led by 11 points from senior guard Shana Sorrels and 10 from senior center Emily Collins.

The competition at EPAC was at an extremely high level, Lady Longhorns head coach Clair Rochor said, and the Lady Longhorns had to step up right away to meet Elida’s Lady Tigers. Elida is one of the best, if not the first-ranked, teams in 1A basketball, Rachor said.

“My hat’s off to the Lady Buffaloes,” Rachor said. “They played a great game and we know to expect nothing less when we match up with them.”

Rachor said the Lady Longhorns and Lady Buffaloes know each other well. It’s the team that gets a run that wins the game, he said.

The Lady Longhorns went into the half leading by three, but when they came back in the second half they couldn’t make a shot, even open looks. The Lady Buffaloes, however, were able to make their shots even with the Lady Longhorns pressing them on defense.

“When a team gets you down by 10 points, you begin to press yourselves on the offensive side,” Rachor said. The Lady Longhorns, he said, didn’t let the game come to them. They tried to force something to happen.

The championship game went better for Lady Buffaloes junior guard Addisen Dial than it did a year ago against the Lady Longhorns. Dial suffered a season-ending left knee injury in a 72-61 loss to Logan in last year’s third-place game in the EPAC tournament. This time, the Lady Buffs’ sixth man erupted for three 3-pointers and 13 points — all in the second half — as Melrose claimed the EPAC title with a 66-48 victory.

Dial was one of four players in double figures for Melrose (11-2) — which used a 14-0 run to erase a three-point, third-quarter deficit against its district rival.

“I was kind of feeling it,” Dial said. “At first, I was nervous, but I just left it all on the floor.”

Junior guard Taylor Bostwick scored 19 points, while sophomore Reagan Carthel added 15 points and senior Caley Barnard 14.

It was the team’s 13th meeting since the start of the 2012-13 season, and they’ll see each other again a minimum of two more times this year.

“There’s no secrets,” Lady Buffs coach Caleb King said of the match-up. “It usually (a matter of) whichever team gets on a run.

“We’ll see them three or four more times. It’ll be a battle every time.”

Melrose took the lead for good on back-to-back 3-pointers by Barnard and Bostwick midway through the third period, and eventually built a 17-point lead with seven minutes to go.

Dial, of course, thought back to last year’s injury.

“After a while I just let the game come to me,” she said. “The second half, I just calmed down.”

Rachor said overall he was happy with how the tournament went for the Lady Longhorns, it gave them a chance to compete against some strong teams some that they will see again later in the season.

“I want to say first off that the passing of J.D. Isler will impact the entire region if not state,” Rachor said. “He was a good man and a tremendous coach with an amazing career who was doing great things with the Elida Lady Tigers.”

Isler was killed in a car accident Sunday north of Clovis.

Rachor said the first game against the Lady Tigers was an intense match-up that took a toll on the Lady Longhorns. He said the Lady Longhorns were exhausted by the end of that game. Coach Isler was well prepared for us which was no surprise with how well he coached those girls.

The Lady Longhorns next had to face the then undefeated Tatum Lady Coyotes (12-1), another number one-ranked team, whom they beat 54-47.

Rachor said the Lady Longhorns performed well against Tatum and were able to play a full game on both ends of the ball. He said the girls played well on defense, pressuring the Lady Coyotes forcing turnovers and took care of the basketball on offense.

The Lady Longhorns next challenge will be against the Texico Lady Wolverines (10-3).

Rachor said he is looking forward to the tough game against Texico, it is going to help the Lady Longhorns as they progress through the season and work towards the state tournament.

Game time: 5:30 p.m., Thursday at Texico


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