Texico preps for early tip with Eunice

Texico junior Bryn Mayfield, right, snags a rebound in the EPAC tournament in January. The Lady Wolverines play Eunice 8 a.m. today in the Class 2A state quarterfinals. (CNJ staff photo: Rick White)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

TEXICO — Faith Martin is a little concerned about today’s 8 a.m. start time for the Texico Lady Wolverines’ Class 2A state tournament quarterfinal game, but she’s confident they can handle it.

“I think if we can just wake up and act alive, we’ll be OK,” said Martin, a junior guard and the team’s leading scorer. “We can’t overlook them. Everybody plays good at state.”

Texico (24-4), seeded third in the eight-team field, faces No. 6 Eunice (18-8) in the first game of the day at the new Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. The Lady Wolverines might be excused for overlooking the Lady Cardinals — they blitzed Eunice 50-21 on Jan. 12 in Eunice.

You won’t catch second-year Texico coach Keith Durham falling for that, however.

“They’re playing a lot better than they were when we played them in January,” Durham said. “But I feel confident. I think our girls will have the right mindset.”

Texico, looking for its first state title since 2002, knows that one blowout win doesn’t automatically mean it will happen again. The Lady Wolverines needed a last-second basket by freshman Katlin Luscombe to edge Clayton 45-43 at home on Feb. 23 in the District 6-2A tournament final after blitzing the Lady Yellowjackets by 27 and 21 points in the earlier meetings.

“We just have to learn from that,” Martin said. “You just have to be ready every time you step on the floor.”

If the Lady Wolverines win, they’re looking at another 8 a.m. game in Thursday’s semifinals against either second-seeded Navajo Prep or Clayton.

Durham said a holiday tournament in Idalou, Texas, in which his team played a final-round game at 7 a.m. New Mexico time has provided something to draw on in that regard.

“It just gets back to what your mindset is and how you perform between the lines,” he said.

Eunice managed eight field goals and went 5-for-15 from the line in the earlier meeting.

The Lady Cardinals’ top player is probably senior guard Kynzi Davidson, who scored a team-high eight points that night.

Eunice has gone 10-2 since that game, losing at Hagerman by 18 points and at home to Tatum by seven.