Texico seeks EPAC title repeats

Wolverine teams are top seeds; Melrose will host opening rounds.


January 4, 2017

By David Norton


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MELROSE — The New Year is here and to kick off every year on the High Plains comes the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference basketball tournament, this year being hosted by Melrose before moving to Greyhound Arena in Portales.

This year the top seeds will go to both the Texico boys and girls, having won the 2016 tournament. Texico ousted Melrose, 78-75, while the Lady Wolverines took a 3-point win over Tatum, 48-45.

“I’ve been involved with it (the tournament) for a long time,” Texico girls coach Richard Luscombe said, “coaching and before that watching it, and it is a big tournament and important. At least for the last couple of years the state champion has come out of the EPAC, across several classes.”

Luscombe owns an EPAC-record 10 coaching titles, and is one of just four coaches to coach both an EPAC girls and boys champion.

The first two days of competition will be played at Melrose, followed by the final two days in Portales. Wednesday’s opening round will kick off with No. 3 Melrose taking on No. 6 San Jon at 3 p.m.. The girls will start things off with No. 9 Floyd taking on No. 8 Grady, also at 3 p.m.

When asked about hosting EPAC, Melrose coach Jim Doherty said, “Being at home always makes a big difference; we are at home and this is where we are comfortable. We shoot here, we work out here — so it definitely helps us get through the first round and get ready for the big move to Portales.”

The Lady Wolverines will head into the tournament with a 7-4 record while the boys will bring with them a 8-4 record. The hosting Buffs are 5-3 while the Lady Buffs are sitting at 4-5.

The two top seeds in each bracket will have first round byes. The No. 1 seeds will play their first games Thursday at 4:30 p.m. for the boys and 3 p.m. for the girls. Both teams will player the winner of the respective bracket’s game one winners — Melrose or San Jon on the boys side and Floyd or Grady for the girls.

The No. 2 seeded Fort Sumner Foxes on the boys side will play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. while the No. 2 seed on the girls side, Tatum, will kick things off the same day at 6 p.m. The Foxes are 7-2 heading into EPAC, while the Lady Coyotes enter the tournament with an 8-1 record.

It’s definitely a difficult tournament all the way around,” said Luscombe. “There are a lot of good teams playing in it, but of course our expectation for ourselves is to go out and win it if we can.”

On Saturday, the championship day, the girls consolation game will kick off at 2:15 p.m. for third place and the championship matchup will have a tipoff set for 6 p.m. For the boys, consolation is set for 4 p.m. and the night cap will be the championship game, starting at 8 p.m.


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