RIO RANCHO – A pair of once and future district rivals will meet in the Class 3A boys state championship game as No. 2 Texico and No. Tucumcari advanced to Saturday‘s 10 a.m. finale at the Pit.
“I promise you Tucumcari is going to come in ready to play, just like we are,” said Wolverines coach Scott Karger after his team’s semifinal win on Thursday at the Santa Ana Star Canter.. “I hope that it’s a good game and of course, I hope Texico comes out on top. But there won’t be any overlooking Tucumcari.”
No. 4 TUCUMCARI 79, No.1 LORDSBURG 66: John Paul Garcia was just feeling it for Tucumcari.
“I came out and I had a good warm up,” Garcia said. “I felt good for the last game in the quarterfinals and I had a streak going. It’s amazing. It’s the first time I’ve ever been here.”
Garcia finished with 34 points to help spur Tucumcari (21-5) to the upset of Lordsburg (27-2). In a box-score-stuffing night, he went 6-for-12 on 3-pointers, had 11 rebounds and six assists.
“He’s one of those shooters,” Rattlers coach John Span said. “When’s he’s on, he can light it up. He got in a groove there. And when he gets in a groove, he’s pretty tough to stop.”
Garcia had 19 points in the first half as the Rattlers grabbed a 40-24 lead going into the break.
“It went by so fast,” Mavericks coach D.J. Saucedo said of the first half. “We knew about Garcia shooting the ball. I told my kids, today, Tucumcari was better than Lordsburg.”
Lordsburg had won 12 in a row since a 40-39 loss to Cliff, but they could never quite get untracked in this one.
“They were just better than us,” Saucedo said. “Especiallythat first half. We missed some shots that we don’t miss all season. They hit a whole bunch of shots. That’s the way basketball goes sometimes, unfortunately.
Forcing Lordsburg to shoot from the outside was an effective strategy because it went 6-for-37 on 3-pointers.
Jacob Esquivel led the scoring for the Mavericks with 24 points and Raymond Saucedo had 20.
But it wasn’t enough to offset Garcia and Zedric Henderson-Greene’s 13 points and 10 rebounds and 12 points from Tyler Ferguson.
Lordsburg did rally in the third quarter pulling within 45-42 at one point as the defense started generating some turnovers that led to some easy transition baskets.
“I think we played more as a team in that third quarter than the whole game pretty much,” Esquivel said.
But that rally took its toll, Saucedo said.
“I think we spent a lot of energy in a short amount of time,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it wasted us, but it almost did.”
Tucumcari (21-5): Tyler Ferguson 12, Daniel Lopez, José Flores-Swan 2, Ronald Carmichael, Daniel Lopez 6, John Paul Garcia 34, Zedric Henderson-Greene 13, Saul Ramos 9. Totals 27 15-20 79
Lordsburg (27-2): Jacob Esquivel 24, Matt May 2, Johnny Plowman 12, Brandon Strain 6, José Escobar 2, Raymond Saucedo 20. Totals: 28 4-7 66
Tucumcari 20 20 21 18 – 79
Lordsburg 8 16 27 15 — 66
3-point FGs: T 10 (Garcia 6, Henderson-Greene, Ramos, Carmichael, Ferguson); L 6 (Esquivel 3, Saucedo 2, Plowman). Rebounds: T 39 (Garcia 11); L 39 (plowman 10). Assists: T 11 (Garcia 6); L 6 (Saucedo 3). Turnovers: T 22; L 14. Total fouls: T 11; L 22. Fouled out: L, Plowman.
No. 2 TEXICO 79, No. 3 PECOS 57: Wolverines post Nathan Phipps was just too much for the Panthers as he scored 24.
The 6-foot, 4-inch Phipps dominated the paint, grabbing 11 rebounds and also added two assists.
“We knew they were going to bring a lot of pressure and I knew my job coming in,” he said. “Our guards were going to break the press up front and I was going to make them pay on the back end. It was just good execution all the way through.”
The game turned at the end of the first quarter when Texico (21-5) started a 16-0 run that Pecos (23-7) didn’t end until 30 seconds remained in the second quarter, taking a 31-19 lead.
“We came out and we were hitting shots and we were shooting,” Pecos coach Ira Harge Jr. said. “And all of sudden in the second quarter we went cold and then we weren’t hitting anything. It just wasn’t flowing for us. We just went stale.”
Brannon Karger added 20 points for Texico, while Arturo Archuleta had 19 points and Carlos Cordova had 16 for Pecos.
No. 2 Texico 79, No. 3 Pecos 57
PECOS (23-7) Arturo Archuleta 19, Adrian Vigil 3, Carlos Cordova 16, Cameron Quintana 3, Mario Archuleta 13, Isaac Cde Baca 3. Totals 29-FG 10-12-FT 57.
TEXICO (21-5) Cayd Bilbrey 2, Ben Crist 2, Tanner Dickerman 4, Brannon Karger 20, Dalton Tatcher 3, Lance Myers 2, Braden Fraze 17, Mason Golden 4, Nathan Phipps 24, Paden McDermid 1. Totals 30-FG 23-36-FT 79.
Pecos 19 6 9 23—57
Texico 17 16 23 23—79
3-Point FG: P 11 (A. Archuleta 2, A. Vigil, Cordova 3, Quintana, M. Archuleta 3, Cde Baca); T 4 (Karger 2, Fraze 2). Team Fouls: P 24; T 14. Fouled Out: P, Joseph Vigil.