PORTALES — After besting all comers, the Texico Wolverines will now prepare for what might be their toughest opponent yet: Rustiness.
The top-seeded Wolverines went into their nearly-two-week break on a high note, dominating the second half Saturday in a 63-46 win over Melrose Saturday night at Greyhound Arena to claim the EPAC boys tournament title.
Jonah Walls had 17 to lead Texico (14-0), which outscored its three opponents 170-130 to claim its third-straight EPAC title and sixth in school history.
But for Texico, it was no sure thing until it had a 16-0 burst to open the third quarter, after Melrose had rallied from a double-figure deficit to a 27-23 halftime deficit.
“We had a nice little talking to at halftime, the kids responded,” Texico coach Scott Karger said. “Melrose has gotten better since the last time we’ve played them. Those kids are going to be tough for their district. People cannot overlook Melrose.”
Meanwhile, people might forget Texico for a while. The Wolverines are off until Jan. 24, when they visit Portales.
Jay Faust scored 20 for Melrose (8-7), including three of the Buffaloes’ six 3-pointers, while Cade Barnard added 10.
Miguel Reyna, normally the Wolverines’ top option on offense, had 14 points and got a lot of help.
“That’s what I like about our team,” Karger said. “Our scoring was pretty balanced. The lowest guy had five points, and there were three of those. That’s what I’m hoping is going to pay off for us. You can’t just focus on one guy.
“We’ve seen (teams put a box-and-one on Reyna) a few times, and we’ve handled it great. We know it’s coming, and we’re prepared. Miguel knows he’s got help. He’s a great team player, and he doesn’t care. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the win, and it’s the same with the rest of the guys.”
Third place — Dylan Pirvett scored 16 to lead three Coyotes in double figures, and Dora captured the third-place game with a47-39 victory.
Josh Walker scored 11 and Dalton Privett had 10 for Dora (10-3), which led 30-19 at the half.
The Foxes (8-7) were led by Talen Crist and Hunter Sparks, who each had 13.