By Kevin Wilson
And down the stretch they come in District 3-1A, and the Broncos and Vixens are way out in front.
Coming into the final week of district play, the Floyd boys and Fort Sumner girls have each jumped out to 8-0 starts. However, it doesn’t mean that the teams can’t still have an impact on the upcoming district.
Brian Fortner is in his first year at Fort Sumner (20-4 overall). His girls have already clinched the top seed for the girls, which he admits is odd with two games still to play.
“It’s like everybody seems to be accepting the fact that we’ve got it and it’s kind of weird,” Fortner said. “Last year at Tucumcari, it was a dogfight the whole time. You had four of (Class 2A’s) top 10 teams in the same district.”
The Vixens needed overtime Friday night to stay perfect, holding off Elida 42-39. The loss put Elida at 5-3 in district (12-10 overall), setting up a tie with Melrose (11-13, 5-3).
Elida coach Dan Howard said the first priority is taking care of business with their schedule — the Lady Tigers host Vaughn Tuesday and Dora Friday.
However, Elida wouldn’t mind some help from Floyd (11-13, 2-6). The Lady Broncos host Dora (8-11, 4-4) Tuesday night. A Floyd win over Dora, plus a Fort Sumner win against Melrose Tuesday, could lock up the district’s second seed for Elida.
The difference between first and second place is a lot smaller than the difference between second and third with the tournament format. The bottom four teams (No. 6 at No. 3, No. 5 at No. 4) will open up the tournament, followed by a game at the highest remaining seed.
The survivor of those first two games would then play at the home of the No. 2 seed, while Fort Sumner to host that winner for the district title game. The top two teams in the district tournament advance to state.
“It’s big for us,” Howard said of the second seed. “You’ve got to make them come to your house and that’s what we’re playing for right now.”
The Floyd boys haven’t quite finished off the top seed, but Melrose coach Casey Pack figures the percentages favor the Broncos (17-6 overall).
The Buffaloes (15-7, 6-2) are coming off a 76-34 rout over Dora Friday. The Buffaloes could still earn the top seed, but would need:
* to beat Fort Sumner Tuesday,
* to have Dora win at Floyd, also on Tuesday,
* beat Floyd Friday and
* beat Floyd again in a district tiebreaker, which would be scheduled for Saturday.
“We’re playing for the No. 2 spot Tuesday at Fort Sumner,” Pack said. “We’ve had our ups and downs through injury and sickness, but we’ve finally got our whole team back (Friday) night.”
The Coyotes, however, are simply playing for a home game to open the tournament. Dora (5-16, 3-5) will host Elida Friday in what could be a battle for homecourt advantage in a 4-5 matchup with the Tigers (3-16, 1-7).
“We’ve just got to get some things going,” Dora coach Ty Thatcher said. “(Friday) night, we fell off the wagon. We’ve just got to put together a consistent game against Floyd.”
Dora, which cruised through district play last year, will now have to win three games just to get to the title game. Thatcher admitted that it would help to have at least the first game at Guy Luscombe Gymnasium.
“Of course it helps,” Thatcher said of the homecourt advantage. “But after the first one, you’re on the road, so it’s not that big.”