Texico’s Logan Brown has the ball knocked out of his hands during the second half of their game against Melrose on Thursday in Melrose. Texico defeated Melrose 56-43. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
MELROSE — Behind Logan Brown and Braden Vaughan pounding the offensive boards and scoring inside, as unbeaten Texico overpowered Melrose 56-43 Thursday in a non-district game.
Melrose trailed 46-42 with 3:12 left in the game after climbing back from an early 11-point deficit. However, Vaughan converted an offensive rebound into a three-point play, igniting a game-ending 10-1 run for the Wolverines (19-0), ranked third in Class 2A.
“Our kids played hard, just a couple of shots went the wrong way, a couple of rebounds went the wrong way,” Melrose coach Casey Pack said.
In the opener of the doubleheader, Texico beat the Lady Buffaloes 48-33.
Brown and Vaughan, who looked like misplaced linemen compared to the other players on the court, scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, to lead the Wolverines.
Texico has taken advantage of its burly posts all season.
“That’s where we wanted to go, that’s what we try to do,” Texico coach Rich Luscombe said. “It’s been our game plan all year.”
Both teams struggled from the free-throw line. Texico was 15 for 29 while Melrose was 7 of 18.
“I should hire a free-throw shooting coach because I’m not doing a good job at it, I guess,” Luscombe said.
Junior guard Tyler Tatum led the Buffaloes (14-5) with 15 points, including six of the team’s first eight points of the fourth quarter to pull the team to 46-42.
Playing at a whiplash pace in the first quarter, Texico grabbed a 19-8 lead.
In the final three quarters, Melrose did a better job of getting back on defense and double-teaming the ball down low, Pack said.
“We got a lot of second shots, unfortunately we didn’t make a lot of those second shots,” he said.
In the girls contest, the Lady Buffaloes Texico limited Melrose to one point in the second quarter and 11 points in the first half.
Lady Buffalo coach Jason Lee credited Texico’s man-on-man defense with a great performance.
“Offensively, they really bogged us down,” Lady Buffalo coach Jason Lee said. “They’re physical, they take you out of your offense, they jam up your passing lane, they make it hard to run anything.”
Bryn Mayfield led Texico (14-5) with 10 points, while Audrey Hemminger scored nine for Melrose (9-12).