Fort Sumner senior Amber Sena struggles through two Texico defenders during an EPAC Tournament matchup Friday at Greyhound Arena. (CNJ staff photo: Andrew Chavez)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — Texico girls coach Keith Durham wanted to see a wire-to-wire effort for his team in Friday’s EPAC semifinal matchup with Fort Sumner.
The Lady Wolverines took him to heart — so well that senior Stephanie Bailey didn’t even realize how well they were doing.
“I looked up in the middle of the second quarter and thought, ‘Wow, good job, girls,’” Bailey said. “I wasn’t really thinking about the score. I was more concerned with just hustling and rebounding and taking care of the basketball.”
Bailey scored 17 points and Texico held the defending tournament champion Vixens scoreless for stretches of 5 1/2 minutes in the first half and 11 minutes in the second in cruising to a 49-28 victory at Greyhound Arena. The Lady Wolverines (10-3) face Elida (12-1), a 57-31 semifinal winner over Floyd, in today’s 6 p.m. championship game.
Bailey scored 10 of her points during a 17-0 run which broke a 2-2 tie and put the Lady Wolverines in complete control by the end of the opening period. Sophomore guard Faith Martin added 11 points.
Some of the players in the tournament may have had problems with the shooting background at Greyhound Arena — deeper than in most high school facilities — but Bailey wasn’t one of them.
She said she’s gotten guidance in that area from her father.
“Lately, my dad’s been stressing that my shot needed to be more consistent,” she said.
Durham said he stressed the importance of putting together a consistent, complete game.
“I told the girls, ‘I want to start well and play well for 32 minutes,’” he said. “We took care of the ball today and we had good defensive pressure.
“Every game we want to get better, and today we did that.”
The Vixens (5-4), who meet Floyd for third place at 4:15 p.m. today, simply couldn’t get much going against the Lady Wolverines.
“We’ve just got to quick having those scoring droughts,” Fort Sumner coach Brian Fortner said. “We weren’t ready to play today, but their intensity and pressure on defense really hurt us in the first quarter.”
Senior Julie Wood was Fort Sumner’s only double-figure scorer, finishing with 11 points.
The Lady Wolverines handed Elida its only loss of the season in a tournament last month at Anton, Texas, but Bailey said she knows beating the Lady Tigers again won’t be easy.
“I just know they’ll be gunning for us,” Bailey said. “We’ll have to be on our best game tomorrow.”