Harvey Park goes up for two of his 14 points in Saturday’s Class 1A Region B championship game at Floyd High School. Photo by Kevin Wilson
By Kevin Wilson
FLOYD — The last time Casey Pack won two games in a row at Floyd, it gave his team a regional championship.
History repeated itself over the weekend, but this time Pack was coaching the Melrose Buffaloes, who beat his former Floyd Broncos 65-51 Saturday for the Class 1A Region B championship.
Melrose outscored the Broncos 21-8 in the second quarter and controlled the entire second half.
Carlos Ruiz had 17 to lead three in double figures for Melrose (20-8), but the story was a Buffalo defense that held Floyd to 18-of-57 shooting from the floor and 2-of-21 from the 3-point line.
“We just got after it and played defense,” said Pack, in his second season at Melrose after five at Floyd. “Our kids just hustled tonight.”
Ruiz scored seven straight points during a 12-2 run in the second quarter, giving Melrose a 22-12 lead they would never relinquish.
Floyd (20-8) had trouble shooting from the floor and the free-throw line. The Broncos went 13-of-27 from the line.
“Melrose dictated what we did offensively,” Floyd coach Jeff Gillespie said. “We just didn’t handle the pressure.”
Floyd spent most of the third quarter and part of the fourth trading baskets with the Buffaloes, but the Broncos could never get closer than eight.
The Broncos missed all 13 of their 3-point attempts in the second half, which helped Melrose build on their lead late. Pack employed an offense heavy on 3-pointers when he coached the Broncos, and he knew to expect the same from Gillespie’s personnel.
“He knows me and I know him,” Pack said of Gillespie. “When the three is falling (for Floyd), it ain’t fun.”
Chance Chenault led Floyd with 17 points, while Jerrod Long scored 13 and Ryan Kropf added 10.
Harvey Park scored 14 points, while Brock Graham chipped in 11 for Melrose.
Both teams had already earned their way into the state tournament with a win Friday night — Melrose beat Desert Academy 83-69 and Floyd defeated Monte Del Sol 77-63.
However, the win gives the Buffaloes a decided advantage in the bracket. The Buffaloes will play Tatum to open the state tournament Wednesday, while the Broncos have the unenviable task of facing 29-0 Temple Baptist.
Gillespie knows his team will be the underdog, but he’s always been a fan of underdogs.
“I don’t like undefeated teams, especially private schools,” Gillespie said. “There are just too many advantages to being a private school. Why not us to knock off the big dog?”