Texico wins big, but loses coin flip

Texico senior Bryce Bailey drives to the basket past Santa Rosa’s Eric Sandoval during the first quarter of Friday’s game in Texico. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Dave Wagner

TEXICO — The Texico Wolverines weren’t about to let Santa Rosa guard Eric Sandoval beat them again Friday night.

With seniors Mark Peabody and Garett Mayfield rotating on the Lions’ standout, first in a box-and-one defense, later in straight man-to-man coverage, Sandoval finished with just five points in the Wolverines’ 70-35 romp which pulled Texico into a three-way tie for the district’s regular-season championship with Santa Rosa and Clayton.

Texico (19-5, 6-2 district)lost a three-way coin flip after the game and was relegated to the No. 3 seed for this week’s 6-2A tournament. The Lions (15-10, 6-2) and Clayton were to play off for the top spot on Saturday night at Tucumcari.

Texico will host Tucumcari at 7 p.m. Tuesday in its district tourney opener.

Sandoval scored 27 points in a 52-48 win over Texico last month.

“Our whole intention was to make sure if someone was going to beat us, it would be someone else,” Wolverines coach Richard Luscombe said. “I thought we did a great job defensively.

“We had great offensive execution tonight. I thought that was by far the best we’ve played intensity-wise this year.”

Santa Rosa had three early two-point leads before the Wolverines went on a 22-2 run that carried into the second quarter. By halftime, they led 40-15.

Peabody, who scored just two points and eventually fouled out, had primary responsibility for chasing Sandoval.

“He’s a good ballplayer,” Peabody said. “They’re a good team, but our team played great. We came out third (on the coin flip), but we’re ready to play anybody.”

Junior forward Braden Vaughan led four Wolverines in double figures with 16 points, followed by Johnny Rivera and Bryce Bailey with 15 each and Logan Brown with 13.

After watching the Santa Rosa girls overcome a 21-point halftime deficit to win the early varsity tilt, the Wolverines weren’t about to take any such chances. They never let the Lions get closer than 23 points after the break.

“(Coach) said our game looked a lot like the girls game,” Peabody said of the first half. “He wanted us to go out and play hard the rest of the game.”

Joey Urban led Santa Rosa with 11 points.