Elida’s Blaine Bumguardner (left) fouls Grady’s Domingo Diaz during Tuesday’s EPAC game in Texico. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.
By Eric Butler
TEXICO — Modest as they were, one team was going to have its winning streak snapped in Tuesday’s first round game of the EPAC boys tournament between Grady and Elida at the Texico Sports Arena.
The teams have combined for three wins this season, but both took one-game winning streaks into the matchup.
Grady quickly showed it was the most likely squad to double its winning streak, but the Bronchos had to overcome some major shooting and turnover problems — in addition to a spirited comeback by Elida — before finally winning 58-40.
Most of the damage for Grady (3-9) came from junior Jarrod Lindsey, who sliced into the teeth of the Tigers’ defense on numerous occasions to tally 25 points.
“I try to do the same thing every time — sometimes it falls and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Lindsey, who also dished out five assists to pace the Bronchos. “We were starting to get worried, but we knew if we picked it up we could take them.”
Elida (1-8) picked up its first win of the season over House just before the EPAC tourney.
After falling behind by a 25-12 score late in the second quarter, Elida slowly worked its way back into the contest.
After scoring the last six points of the first half, the Tigers crept to within 28-24 when Dylan Radcliff nailed a 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
“I thought they played really well in the first half, but we started to get a little tired,” Elida coach Darrell Chenault said. “But we can’t handle pressure man-to-man right now. Until we can punish people when they play us man-to-man, they’re just going to keep right on us.”
The Bronchos answered the Elida threat in the third quarter with a 12-0 run — a streak that began with a bucket from John Schueler on an assist from Robert Windham.
Schueler, a junior, finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. After his score, an Elida turnover led to a basket by Domingo Diaz which was followed in quick succession by three straight baskets by Lindsey.
“We’ve only got one senior (Kevin Brown) and I know that Elida’s real young, too,” said Grady coach Ken Kostedt. “We’ve got several years before some of these boys grow up still.”
Wesley Gilmore led Elida with 16 points.