Buffs down Fort Sumner for third

Melrose sophomore Carolos Ruiz is fouled by Fort Sumner’s Jameson West during the first half of Saturday’s third-place game. CNJ photo by Rick White.

By Dave Wagner

PORTALES — Senior Harvey Park scored 18 points and Melrose claimed the boys’ third-place trophy in the EPAC basketball tournament Saturday with a 51-32 win over Fort Sumner at Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena.

Park had three 3-pointers, including two in the first quarter when the Buffaloes (6-5) opened a 17-8 lead. Fort Sumner struggled all game, converting just 10 field goals and committing 27 turnovers.

Junior guard Ross Cortese was the only other player in double figures for either team, scoring 12 points to lead the Foxes (5-8).

Melrose coach Casey Pack said he thought his team’s quickness and defensive pressure bothered Fort Sumner. The Buffs were coming off a 51-31 semifinal loss on Friday night to Texico.

“Maybe we should’ve played that way last night,” Pack said, “but I figured Texico’s big guys would wear you down.”

The Foxes led 1-0 early, but Melrose countered with an 8-0 run and was never seriously threatened after that. The Buffs’ lead was in double figures from the final two minutes of the first half.

“We’re just not playing the game well right now,” Fort Sumner coach Dexter McDaniel said. “Hopefully, we’ll get everybody on the same page pretty soon, but we’re young.”

Both teams were missing players. Melrose junior Brock Graham and Fort Sumner sophomore Derek Dimitroff were in Denver judging a livestock competition while the Foxes were also without junior guard Ryan Fikany, who sustained a rib injury in Friday’s semifinal loss to Floyd.

Seventh place
Logan 75, San Jon 55
San Jon (3-7) —
Tyce Foster 1, Trey Rusk 9, Chase Tillman 3, Richard Vasquez 16, Danny Shetter 3, Jarred Archuleta 11, Cahill Sours 5, Albert Hood 4, Will McIntire 3. Totals 13 26-51 55.
Logan (5-7) — Josh Franco 2, Denton Dowell 1, Wes James 10, Kirk Burns 12, Willie Dauphinais 7, Stephen Oglesby 2, John Maestas 2, Drew Perez 11, J.D. Estrada 6, Jake Abercrombie 11, Saul Acosta 1, Chris Martinez 10. Totals 21 32-60 75.
San Jon 8 11 16 20 — 55
Logan 17 17 26 15 — 75
3-pointers — San Jon, Vasquez 2, Archuleta. Logan, Dauphinais.

Third place
Melrose 51, Fort Sumner 32
Melrose (6-5) —
Jeremy Weese 2, Carlos Ruiz 9, Harvey Park 18, Tarron Whitehead 2, Caleb Dodd 8, Cutter Roberts 2, Chris Russell 8, Jason Runyan 2. Totals 22 3-11 51.
Fort Sumner (5-8) — Stephen Gallegos 6, Ross Cortese 12, Roel Canales 5, John Sena 1, Gerid Higgins 3, Brenton Williamson 5. Totals 10 10-23 32.
Melrose 17 11 11 12 — 51
Fort Sumner 8 8 7 9 — 32
3-pointers — Melrose, Park 3, Ruiz. Melrose, Canales, Williamson.