Hope Christian thumps Texico in quarterfinals

Texico junior Logan Brown looks to shoot as Hope Christian freshman Zach Spangler defends him in the third quarter of Wednesday’s Class 2A boys state quarterfinal game at Cibola High School in Albuquerque. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Eric Butler

ALBUQUERQUE — If the Texico boys basketball team derived any confidence from the fact that two-time defending Class 2A champioin Hope Christian had to go to overtime in its regional final, that boost of optimism vanished Wednesday night as quickly as the Wolverines’ chances of dethroning the champs.

Sporting a talented and deep lineup, Hope ended Texico’s season by beating the Wolverines 91-60 in a quarterfinal at Cibola High.

“Obviously, they’re a quality basketball team and I think they shot the ball unreal tonight,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said. “It’s pretty hard when they’re clicking like that and we’re committing some turnovers.”

Texico (22-7) scored the first point of the game, on a Bryce Bailey free throw, and then fell back on its heels when Hope Christian (29-1) ran off nine straight.

Hope was paced by forward Daniel Medina’s 23 points while teammate Derek Roland added 21. Eight Hope Christian players got in the scoring column in the first half alone as waves of Huskies took turns coming in off the bench.

Led by Braden Vaughan’s 17 points, Texico trimmed the lead to six with five straight points late in the first quarter.
But that margin soon ballooned to 32-12 after Hope retaliated with 14 consecutive points, a margin which soon grew to 40-17.

On a couple of occasions throughout the rest of the game, Texico threatened to cut the deficit to under 18 points. But each time the Wolverines were plagued with a string of turnovers that halted their momentum.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve come a long ways this year and it’s just unfortunate that we got matched up with them in the first round,” Luscombe said. “We haven’t been ranked all year and we weren’t supposed to be here, but I’m extremely proud of these guys.”

Johnny Rivera added 15 points for Texico, while Bailey chipped in 10.

The game saw one of the first postseason applications of the 35-point running-clock mercy rule, instituted earlier in the season, when Hope went up by a 79-44 count at the end of the third quarter.

Between them, counting Texico’s state championship in 2001, the schools have accounted for the last three Class 2A titles. The teams have met in postseason play in five of the past six years.

“I told coach (Luscombe) that it seems that we don’t have a regular season game scheduled, but we seem to cross paths every March,” Hope coach Jim Murphy said. “They always have a very good team, and we’re just glad to win tonight.”

Hope Christian 91, Texico 60
Texico (22-8) —
Braden Vaughan 6 5-10 17, Johnny Rivera 4 3-6 15, Bryce Bailey 3 2-6 10, Mark Peabody 1 4-6 6, Garrett Mayfield 1 1-2 3, Aaron Vaughan 1 0-0 3, Curtis Williams 1 0-0 3, Joe Zaikowski 1 0-0 2, Logan Brown 0 1-3 1. Totals 18 16-33 60.
Hope Christian (29-1) — Daniel Medina 10 2-5 23, Derek Roland 8 2-3 21, Adam Herrera 4 6-6 15, Marcus Sanchez 3 1-2 8, Colin Byrd 3 0-0 6, Mike Pollack 2 1-1 5, Caleb Koch 0 4-6 4, Zach Spangler 1 2-2 4, Joshua Murphy 1 0-0 2, Steve Smotherman 1 0-0 2, Brent Wylie 0 1-2 1, Nate Little 0 0-0 0. Totals 33 19-27 91.
Texico 12 19 13 16 — 60
Hope Christian 25 27 27 12 — 91
3-pointers — Texico, Rivera 4, Bailey 2, A. Vaughan, Williams. Hope Christian, Roland 3, Herrera, Medina, Sanchez. Fouls — Texico 22, Hope Christian 21. Fouled out — Rivera, Little.