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Boys 3A final: No. 2 Texico routs Tucumcari 77-52


The Texico game plan in Saturday‘s Class 3A boys high school state championship at the Pit was Hoops 101 and remarkably effective: pound the inside early with 6-foot, 4-inch Nathan Phipps, and when Tucumcari collapsed on him, unleash guards Brannon Karger and Braden Fraze.

The textbook fundamentals worked so well that the No. 2 Wolverines (22-5) ran off with their first state championship since 2009 with a 77-52 win over the No. 4 Rattlers (21-6), who were trying to win their first since 1950.


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Phipps, who finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, hit all four of his first-quarter attempts from deep inside the paint while grabbing five rebounds to establish an interior dominance.

“He’s big and a little bit intimidating,” said Tucumcari’s John Paul Garcia, who finished with 28 points. “We could have attacked him but we just didn’t.”

Then Karger and Fraze took advantage of the spacing, finishing with 24 and 13 points, respectively, with Karger adding eight assists and eight rebounds.

The duo were particularly effective in Texico’s game-turning 19-0 run, in which Karger scored nine points and Fraze six. The surge turned Tucumcari’s 15-14 lead into a 33-15 Wolverines’ advantage. The margin was never closer than 15 thereafter.

“We get the ball inside and get them to suck inside on their defense and then it opened up their outside and Brannon and Fraze are able to knock them down,” Texico coach Scott Karger said. “When you have that formula like that, it’s tough to stop. It’s tough to stop any team that does that.”

It was really a matter of basic basketball in that one team dropped in shots and one didn’t, said Rattlers coach John Span.

“They hit shots and we didn’t hit shots,” he said. “The same shots we’ve been hitting all year. All during the tournament they fell and (Saturday) they weren’t and it allowed them to put some real estate between us. Too much to overcome.”

Coach Karger agreed with that assessment.


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“We were able to knock down some shots (Saturday) and it was difference in the game,” he said.

A key was pressuring Garcia, who had 60 points in the previous two tournament games, but went 9-for-24 from the field and 5-for-17 on 3-pointers.

“We came out in our two-big, outstretched out 2-3,” said Brannon Karger. “Obviously, he’s a great player. We just had to be aware of where he was. Lance (Myers) and Fraze did a great job up doing that. He’s a great shooter.”


No. 2 TEXICO 77, No. 4 TUCUMCARI 52

Tucumcari (21-6): Tyler Ferguson 3-9 0-0 6, Daniel Lopez 3-6 0-0 8, Josha Lopez -14 0-0 3 José Flores-Duran 2-3 0-0 4, Ronald Carmichael 1-9 1-2 3, Billy Sandoval 0-0 0-0 0; John Paul Garcia 9-24 5-6 28, Zedric Henderson-Greene 0-10 0. Totals 19-65 6-8 52.

Texico (22-5): Ralph Maldonado 1-1 0-0 2, Tanner Dickerman 2-4 0-0 4, Brannon Karger 9-19 5-7 24, Dalton Thatcher 1-2 5-6 8, Lance Myers 1-2 0-0 2, Braden Fraze 5-11 2-4 13, Mason Golden 0-1 0-0 0, Nathan Phipps 10-12 2-4 22, Paden McDermid 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 30-54 14-21 77.

Tucumcari  13      7        10      22 — 52

Texico         14      24      21      18 — 77

3-point FGs: Tuc 8 (Garcia 5-17, D. Lopez 2-5, J. Lopez 1-4,Ferguson 0-3, Henderson-Greene 0-3, Carmichael 0-6); Tex 3 (Thatcher 1-2, Fraze 1-4, Karger 1-6, Myers 0-1); Rebounds: Tuc 29 (Henderson-Greene 7); Tex 50 (Phipps 13); Assists: Tuc 10 (Garcia 4); Tex 21 (Karger 8). Steals: Tuc 11; Tex 6. Blocks: Tuc 2; Tex 3. Turnovers: Tuc 11; Tex 17. Total fouls: Tuc 20; Tex 13. Fouled out: Tuc, Ferguson.