Lady Wolverines on mission

Texico senior Brette Hadley drives around freshman teammate Faith Martin during practice Wednesday at the high school. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

The Texico Lady Wolverines expect to see an aggressive opponent in Friday’s Class 2A Region D semifinal game against Hope Christian at Santa Rosa, but coach Buddy Little thinks his team will be ready.

Little said Hope (24-3) likes to play man-to-man defense and pressure all over the court, led by senior point guard Makenzi Williamson.

“She puts a lot of pressure on you,” he said. “She’s a pressing machine all by herself. (But) we match up real well with them. I think we play better against man-to-man than anything.”

Texico (20-7) has advanced to regionals for the first time since 2002, when it completed a Class 2A state three-peat led by Elizabeth Richards and Jennifer Roberts.
“Our girls set a goal early this year to get out of district,” Little said. “Now we just can’t be satisfied with that.”

ALSO ON FRIDAY, Fort Sumner and improving Melrose travel to Des Moines in Class 1A Region D, and the District 4-1A champion Grady Lady Bronchos host the 1A Region B tournament.

Fort Sumner (26-0) has a testy semifinal game against Cimarron (20-5), while the Lady Buffaloes (13-15) face the three-time defending 1A champion and host Lady Demons (25-2).

Fort Sumner had its closest game of the season in a tournament at Cimarron, edging the Lady Rams 40-37 in a semifinal game despite 22 points from Cimarron senior guard Jessica Adams. The Vixens got past Santa Rosa the next night for the title.

“They’re quick and scrappy,” coach Brian Fortner said of the Lady Rams. “Jessica Adams is one of the best guards in the state.

“I think three of the four best teams (in 1A) are playing in the same region. Hopefully, we’ll stay out of foul trouble and hit some shots.”

Fortner said Des Moines is not as deep as its recent teams, but still has talent in 5-foot-9 senior guard Jamie Atwater, 6-3 junior post Kelly Goodan and 6-2 senior post Emily Kennedy.

The Lady Demons will be Melrose’s problem in the semifinals, but first-year Lady Buffs coach Jason Lee doesn’t really mind coming in as the underdog.
“That’s a good thing in some ways,” he said. “We can just go up there and fight hard and see what happens.”
Last year, coaching at House, Lee’s Cowgirls faced Des Moines in the first round of the state tournament and were competitive for a half before fading.

“We’re going to have to rebound well and defend well,” he said. “Rebounding is obviously a key because they’re so big. But if we can play a complete game, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

AT GRADY, THE Lady Bronchos (20-7) face Desert Academy (16-12) in one semifinal. The second game matches District 2-1A winner Temple Baptist against Mosquero.

Grady, which lost two key returning players from last year in Stephanie Bailey (transferred to Texico) and Heather Blackburn (ACL injury), is seeking its third consecutive trip to state and fifth in coach Alicia Rush’s seven seasons.

“Honestly, I’m really pleased we’ve gotten back to where we were last year,” she said. “We’re going to have to play ball. You have to play well any time you step on the floor.”

Class 1A
Region A
at Des Moines

Fort Sumner vs. Cimarron, 6 p.m.
Des Moines vs. Melrose, 8 p.m.

Region B
at Grady

Temple Baptist vs. Mosquero, 2:30 p.m.
Grady vs. Desert Academy, 1 p.m.

Class 2A
Region D
at Santa Rosa

Hope Christian vs. Texico, 6 p.m.
Santa Rosa vs. Sandia Prep, 7:30 p.m.