Melrose’s Adam Hairgrove is fouled while shooting during the first half of Saturday’s final against Whiteface. Hairgrove made both free throws for his only points of the game. (CNJ staff photo: Rick White)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
FARWELL — The Melrose boys came into the Farwell Invitational winless. They came out tournament champions.
“Oh it’s wonderful, we’re back to .500,” Melrose coach Casey Pack said. “A win takes care a lot of stuff. The last two nights we played real well.”
The Buffaloes (3-3) pressured Whiteface into 19 turnovers on their way to a 63-54 win.
“We just try to get up and pressure the ball to where they have to make bad passes or hard passes,” senior Tyler Tatum said, “and then we try to take advantage of that.”
Pack said good defense starts at practice.
“My big emphasis is defense,” Pack said. “We’re gonna get in your shorts for 32 minutes. If you can’t handle it, you’re gonna struggle a little bit.”
Already ahead 33-17 at halftime, the Buffs put the game away with 29 points in the third quarter.
Melrose’s seniors led the way to victory. Carlos Ruiz had 20 points and five rebounds, Tyler Tatum had 17 and was 6-of-6 on free throws, and Cedar Rush had six points, four rebounds and four assists. All three were named to the all-tournament team.
Senior post Brent Patterson led the Antelopes (3-3) with 14 points.
“We kind of got off to a rough start,” Tatum said. “It feels good to get back into the roll of things and come out and win this.”
Friona girls repeat — Brooke Lunsford beat the first-quarter buzzer with a halfcourt heave, giving Farwell a 16-10 lead and plenty of momentum. Then the second quarter happened.
Friona exploded for 28 points in the period to take the lead, and held on for a 63-54 win in the finals of the Farwell Invitational Tournament for the second straight year.
Farwell coach Doug Boyd said the Squaws (10-3) outside shooting was the difference in the game.
“Their 3-ball is what killed us tonight,” Boyd said. “Whenever we’d sink in on their inside girls, they’d make the right pass, she’d get it off just in time, and it’s money. That kind of takes the wind out of your sails.”
Friona had seven 3-pointers, five by junior Shayli Reed.
Reed said after the first quarter, she took it upon herself to play better.
“Just step up and be a leader, and maybe everyone will follow my footsteps,” Reed said.
Reed scored 22 points before fouling out with 2:41 left to play in the game.
Friona coach Richard North said after Reed went out, he had one thought in his head. “Run clock run,” North said.
Reed and Erica Davala were named to the all-tournament team.
Boyd said he was happy with the way the Lady Blue (6-7) performed this weekend.
“We’re disappointed in the fact that we didn’t beat them,” Boyd said. “But I am extremely pleased with their effort. We made a couple mistakes defensively and they made us pay.”