No. 3 Texico vs. No. 2 Navajo Prep
8 a.m. at Santa Ana Star Center
Records: Texico 25-4, Navajo Prep 20-1
How they got there: Texico beat Tularosa 47-34 in the round of 16, and defeated Eunice 52-27 in the quarterfinals. Navajo Prep beat Pecos 61-23 in the round of 16 and Clayton 61-53 in the quarterfinals.
Lowdown on Texico: Texico coach Keith Durham said the key for his team will be ball control and handling the Eagles full-court pressure.
“We’re going to have to take care of the ball,” he said. “And we’ll have to execute well off of their pressure.”
Durham also hopes the Lady Wolverines hot shooting in their win over Eunice in the quarterfinals carries over today.
“It’s not going to be anything too big where this team can’t take care of business,” he said.
Lowdown on Navajo Prep: Sophomore Nicole Crisp is Navajo Prep’s top player. The Eagles also hold a size advantage over Texico and are tenacious rebounders, Durham said.
Still Durham has confidence in his squad’s defense, which has been their linchpin all season.
“If we don’t give them easy baskets, we’ll be right there,” he said. “And we make everyone earn it.”
No. 1 Cliff vs. No. 4 Elida
11:30 a.m. at Santa Ana Star Center
Records: Cliff 26-2, Elida 23-4
How they got there: Elida beat Tohajiiee 75-49 in the round of 16, beat Magdalena 45-33 in the quarterfinals. Cliff defeated Gallup Catholic 48-41 in the round of 16 and Des Moines 51-40 in the quarterfinals.
Lowdown on Elida: The key for Elida lies in keeping the game uptempo, coach Dan Howard said.
“Hopefully, we can get our transition game going,” Howard said. “We’ve got to have a tremendous defensive game.”
The Lady Tigers was effective with its help-side defense in a quarterfinal win against Magdalena, which Howard said will have to be repeated for a chance at the state finals.
“If we have to we’ll try halfcourt,” he said. “But we still have to play aggressively and not get intimidated by them.”
Lowdown on Cliff: The Cowgirls feature two of the best players in Class 1A in seniors Triten Finch and Jennifer Agnew, Howard said. Finch controls the inside for Cliff while Agnew has a deadly jump shot off the dribble.
Agnew is second in Class 1A in scoring at 16.5 points per game while Finch is fourth at 15.6 and averages six rebounds a game.
— Compiled by CNJ sports writer Greg Price