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Class 3A boys: Texico is a win away from perfect season

RIO RANCHO — Perfection hasn’t been a hot topic for the Texico boys basketball team this season. That could change this weekend.

The top-seeded Wolverines (29-0) moved to within one win of an undefeated season Thursday with a 53-39 victory over Santa Rosa in a Class 3A semifinal at the Santa Ana Star Center. Senior post Nathan Phipps was the man of the hour for Texico, racking up 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Next up is a 10 a.m. Saturday final at the Pit against the winner of Thursday’s late Estancia-Pecos semifinal.

Texico stayed perfect against the district-rival Lions (19-10), defeating them for the fourth time this season. But they’ve generally avoided talking about completing the elusive unbeaten season.

“We have a lot of baseball players on the team,” Texico coach Ty Thatcher said. “They tend to be superstitious about those things.”

Phipps, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound center who looks like he’d be comfortable on lining up as a football defensive end, instead counts himself among the baseball players. The first baseman certainly made himself at home in the paint Thursday.

“He was a man among boys tonight,” Santa Rosa coach Frank Ortiz said of Phipps. “We had no way to stop him.”

Santa Rosa did enough to stay close for most of three quarters, forcing 17 turnovers with hustling, trapping defense. Texico led just 30-25 with 3:30 left in the third.

But when the Wolverines needed a basket, they dumped the ball inside to Phipps, who either scored, drew a foul or kicked the ball out to one of Texico’s perimeter shooters. The Wolverines pushed the lead to 37-25 after three quarters and were able to maintain it through the fourth.

Dalton Thatcher finished with 11 points, while Skyler Davis and Ben Crist each went 2-for-3 from 3-point range for Texico. Martin Madrid paced the Lions with 10 points.

— Ken Sickenger


SANTA ROSA (19-10): Stephen Sanchez 3, Emilio Apodaca 0, Ethan Esquibel 0, Darren Chavez 1, Martin Madrid 10, Korey Padilla 0, Shawn Agar 2, Daniel Esquibel 7, Joaquin Romero 4, Christian Chavez 6, Seth Cordova 0, Cody Schattshneider 4, Shiv Patel 0. Totals: 18-50 FG, 2-8 FT 39.

TEXICO (29-0): Skyler Davis 8, Cayd Billbrey 0, Ben Crist 8, Dalton Thatcher 11, Luke Phipps 4, Cole Rohrbach 0, Nathan Phipps 21, Paden McDermid 1. Totals: 16-32 FG, 16-22 FT 53.

Santa Rosa 10 10 5 14 —39

Texico 13 12 12 16 —53

3-Point FGs: SR 5-17 (Sanchez 0-3, Madrid 2-3, Padilla 0-1, Esquibel 1-3, Romo 0-3, Chavez 2-4), T 5-9 (Davis 2-3, Crist 2-3, Thatcher 1-1, L Phipps 0-2). Rebounds: SR 22 (Romo 6), T 36 (N Phipps 12). Assists: SR 6 (Sanchez 3), T 7 (N Phipps 3). Team fouls: SR 19, T 14. Fouled out: SR Schattshneider.


No. 3 PECOS 69, No. 2 ESTANCIA 48: Pecos hit another gear that No. 2-seeded Estancia was unable to match.
The Panthers used a 16-0 run in the third quarter to open a 19-point lead en route to a lopsided victory over the Bears.
Carlos Cordova scored a team-high 15 points for the third-seeded Panthers (27-3).
Mario Archuleta added 14 points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds and six assists. Archuleta had eight points during his team’s third-quarter salvo, including a pair of traditional three-point plays.
“I was struggling in the first half,” Archuleta said, who made his first shot, but missed the next six before halftime. “…After that first shot, I was nervous, and I needed the halftime to calm me down. I told myself I needed to settle down, and once I did, it was all over.”
Estancia won the team’s regular season meeting – on its home court – by 11 points. Since that time, Pecos has rattled off 14 straight wins.
“I wasn’t surprised we were the number three seed,” said Pecos head coach Ira Harge Jr. “Texico is undefeated, Estancia lost one game, and they beat us head-to-head. But we knew what type of team we were and are, and we were hoping for another chance at (Estancia). Thank goodness we did, and we came out victorious.”
Estancia (28-2) received 12 points each from Reyez Herrera, Drayton Oberg, and Mario Prieto.
“When we beat Pecos earlier this season, I think that lit a fire under them,” said Estancia coach Daniel Pierce. “They had their mojo tonight and were firing on all cylinders.”
       Patrick Newell
PECOS (27-3): Omar Dominguez 7, Carlos Cordova 15, Josh DeHerrera 9, Mario Archuleta, 14, Xavier Padilla 12, Anthony Armijo 12. 24-57-FG, 11-16-FT 69
ESTANCIA (28-2):  Reyez Herrera 12, Drayton Oberg 12, Cruz Moreno 4, Jeremy Silva 2, Zach Abeita 2, Mario Prieto 12, Carlos Parra 4.  19-49-FG, 4-7-FT 49
Score by quarters
Pecos       16  15  23  15-69
Estancia  10  16  12  10-48
3-point goals:  P 10 (DeHerrera 3, Armijo 3, Dominguez, Cordova, Archuleta, Padilla); E 6 (Herrera 3, Prieto 2, Oberg). Rebounds: P 35 (Archuleta 10); E 31 (Silva 10). Assists:  P 18 (Archuleta 6); E 5 (Herrera, Moreno 2). Team fouls:  P 13, E 13. Fouled out:  none. Technical fouls: E, Oberg.


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