Lovington defenders Stephanie Hernandez, left, and Shae Garcia try to block a shot by Bovina’s Lucero Saucedo during Tuesday’s girls quarterfinals in the Citizens Bank Border Shootout at Texico. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
TEXICO — For three quarters, the Bovina Mustangs were on course to knock host Texico into the losers bracket of its tournament Thursday night.
Texico (7-2) didn’t overhaul the Mustangs until the fourth quarter, then held on at the end for a 52-49 victory to move into a 4 p.m. semifinal game today against Dexter (2-5), a 59-55 winner over Farwell.
Wolverines coach Richard Luscombe was relieved just to escape.
“I just never felt like we were in control of the game,” Luscombe said. “That’s by far the worst we’re played this year. It seemed like we were all waiting around for someone else to do it.”
Sophomore Courtland Luscombe, the coach’s son, finished with 16 points for Texico, while junior Daniel Schueler added 11 points and freshman Seth Bailey added 10.
The elder Luscombe said the Wolverines were finally able to pick up their defense to subdue the scrappy Mustangs (3-6).
“Once we were able to do that, we came away with some steals,” he said. “It only takes one guy to be out of position (on defense) to hurt you.”
The Mustangs, who lost 48-39 to Texico in the first round of last week’s Farwell Invitational, opened an eight-point lead early in the second quarter and carried a 40-36 margin into the final quarter.
First-year Bovina coach Willie Torres said his squad is still learning how to win.
“Our guys have seldom been in a situation like that,” he said. “It’s something you have to get accustomed to, and we’re growing from it.”
Junior Trent Quintana led Bovina with 16 points, while senior Jeremy Vasquez added 12.
In other first-round boys games:
* Plains improved to 9-2 with a 55-20 rout of Melrose behind senior Landon Craft, who led four Cowboys in double figures with 12 points. Sophomore Call Barnard led the Buffaloes (0-7) with nine points, while freshman Clint Barnard added seven.
* The Clovis sophomores edged Tatum 50-49 to remain unbeaten for the season at 6-0 and set up a semifinal matchup against Plains. Tanner Adams had four 3-pointers and 16 points and Michael Prestage added 11 points for the Wildcats, while senior guard Trent Hemann scored 15 points to lead three players in double figures for the Coyotes (4-2).
* Seniors Nathan Saenz (16) and Brian Porte (14) combined for 30 points as Dexter (2-5) got past Farwell 59-55. The Steers (3-10, were led by 13 points from senior Brett Howard and 12 from senior Alex Olmos.
* Farwell pulled out a 45-43 win over Melrose on a late 3-pointer by freshman Tiffani Jones. The Lady Blue (4-8) got 12 points from senior Britton Barrett and 10 from Jones, while senior Zanessa Dodd topped the Lady Buffaloes (5-2) with 18 points.
* Tatum got 17 points each from senior Amanda Lopez and freshman Bea Castro and upended Texico 47-41, improving to 4-2 for the season. Junior guard Faith Martin had four 3-pointers and 15 points for the Lady Wolverines (5-2).
* Bovina (7-6) rode 21 points from sophomore Yesenia Guevara and 15 from junior Ruby Vela to a 50-43 victory over Lovington. The Lady Wildcats (4-6) were led by 12 points from junior Jasmine Hernandez.
* Plains rolled to a 24-4 lead at the quarter and never looked back in a 75-49 blitz of Dexter. The Cowgirls (8-2) had four players in double figures, led by senior Meghan Garcia and junior Lauren Davis with 16 points each, while the Lady Demons (4-4) got a game-high 25 points from junior Krystal Banda.