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Class 3A girls: No. 1 Texico, No. 2 Tohatchi impresse in semifinal wins

RIO RANCHO — Texico would like to leave Class 3A with a girls state basketball title, and the Wolverines are one win away.

A 63-42 win over Clayton in Thursday’s state semifinal round at the Santa Ana Star Center puts Texico in Friday’s final against Tohatchi, a resounding winner over Tularosa. Tipoff is 1:30 p.m. at Dreamstyle Arena — the Pit.

No. 1 TEXICO 63, No. 5 CLAYTON 42:  The Wolverines (25-4) took the floor in the 3A Girls semifinals and warmups began with a crisp passing weave.  It’s called the four-corner passing drill and Texico coach Richard Luscombe said it has been a program staple for his 29 years there.

Junior star guard Baylee Sours credits the practice with helping concentration.

“It makes you have to concentrate, to watch the ball to your hands,” she said.  “You have to pay attention.”

That clinical offensive precision fueled a 13-of-20 first-half shooting performance (22-of-38 for the game) en route to a comfortable 63-42 win over Clayton (19-10).  Sours poured in a game-high 27, combining with senior Maryelle Dickerman (18 points) to outscore the Yellowjackets themselves.

“We gambled a lot and it didn’t pay off. We gave away a lot of layups,” Clayton coach Justin Daugherty said. “We just got out of our game. We just kind of let it go in the first quarter especially. We laid down a little bit.”

After falling behind 18-6 in the first quarter, Clayton never got closer than six the rest of the game.  Texico held Clayton scoreless from the floor for the first 6:49 of the third quarter.  The Yellowjackets were outscored 16-5 during the stretch with the only Clayton points coming from the foul line.

“We defended well that was our focus that was our focus all along,” Luscombe said.  “Typically a team that likes to get out to a quick start. We did a great job defending and rebounding.”

Texico is searching for its third 3A title in four years after triumphing in 2015 and 2016.  Clayton and Texico met in the 2015 final, a 50-39 Wolverine win.  Sours played a role even as a freshman hitting some critical baskets in the semifinals, according to Luscombe.

This was the fourth meeting for Clayton and Texico this season.  Texico swept the regular season games before Clayton won the District Championship.

Both Clayton and Texico will move to Class 2A for the 2018-2019 season.

— Noah Seligman

CLAYTON (19-10): Heather Arias 2, Brianna Fong 6, Keegan Geary 10, Dyanne Montoya 0, Mercedes Sandoval 0, McKinlee Crisp 4, Mandy Crisp 6, Kaylee Mitchell 5, Mason Crisp 0, Barbara Cruz 9, Tanzia Sheard 0.  Totals  13-60, 13-22, 42.

TEXICO (25-4): Kaylee Miller 4, Baylee Sours 27, Jasmine Davalos 8, Riley Thompson 1, Jadyn Barnett 0, Alexus Hill 0, MacKenzie Clark 0, Ashley Hill 1, Maryelle Dickerman 18, Mackenzie Haakma 4.  Totals  22-38, 16-28, 63.

Clayton  8    12    10    12 — 42

Texico   18   10    17    18 — 63

3-point goals: Clayton 3PM: 3 (Cruz, Geary, Mckinlee Crisp); Texico 3PM: 3 (Sours 2). Rebounds: Clayton 32 (Fong 8); Texico 33 (Haakma 9). Assists: Clayton 3 (Arias, Crisp, Cruz) Texico: 12 (Sours 4). Total fouls: Clayton 21; Texico 15. Fouled out: Clayton: None; Texico: Sours.

No. 2 TOHATCHI 78, No. 6 TULAROSA 43: The 8 a.m. tip obviously didn’t bother the Cougars (24-6), who scored 28 points in the first quarter and led by 44 before calling off the dogs in the fourth.

Senior point guard Kalian Mitchell poured in 36 points to go with 12 rebounds for Tohatchi. Cameron Tsosie added 17 points.

Shacie Marr’s 11 points led Tularosa (20-8), which had 26 turnovers contributing to 27 Tohatchi points.

no. 2 tohatchi 78, no. 6 tularosa 43

TULAROSA (20-8) Allysa Montoya 0, Jordan Gaston 1, Veronica Diaz 2, Shaeden Marr 0, Ember Cervantes 10, Ciara Salazar 4, Shacie Marr 11, Isabel Gonzales 0, Sierra Montoya 8, Brynn Martinez 1, Tayler Noblitt 1, Brandy Silva 0, Drianna Chavez 5. Totals 14-45-FG 13-32-FT 43.

TOHATCHI (24-6) Krystal Benally 2, Kalian Mitchell 26, Candice Dean 1, Winona Long 0, Genae Morris 0, Cameron Tsosie 17, Voneisha Cecil 7, Brianna Denetso 6, Gabrielle Thomas 5, Shania Manygoats 0, Samantha Belone 2, Sherika Watchman 2, Kalista McCorkey 0, Sarah Begay 0. Totals 30-65-FG 11-16-FT 78.

Tularosa 9 14 11 9—78

Tohatchi 28 17 27 6—43

3-Point FG: Tularosa 2 (Shacie Marr 2); Tohatchi 7 (Mitchell 2, Tsosie, Cecil, Denetso 2, Thomas). Rebounds: Tularosa 36 (Montoya 8); Tohatchi 40 (Mitchell 12). Assists: Tularosa 3; Tohatchi 16 (Mitchell 5). Team Fouls: Tularosa 15; Tohatchi 22.

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