By Eric Butler: Freedom Newspapers
LOGAN — Because Fort Sumner had won the previous two meetings by an average of 27.5 points, it seemed pretty obvious what the Foxes would do to the Grady Bronchos Thursday in a Region A boys basketball semifinal.
But on second thought…
The favored team did indeed win, but not after overcoming a dogged effort from the Bronchos. Bottom line for Fort Sumner, however, is a trip to the state tournament after a 64-59 victory over Grady.
“We were just too busy trying not to lose, instead of playing our game,” said Fort Sumner senior Stephen Gallegos, who scored 10 points.
Trailing 54-52, Grady had possession of the ball under its own basket. A long Bronchos’ pass to midcourt, however, was fought for — and won — by Fort Sumner’s Richard Canales, who went in for a layup with 2:05 remaining.
This time, Grady (16-13) didn’t have an answer. And, after the Bronchos missed a shot attempt, the Foxes’ Brent Williamson drained a 3-pointer with 1:30 on the clock for a 59-52 advantage.
“I put him in a lot of situations like that, because a lot of times throughout the season he’s just hit a clutch shot like that,” Fort Sumner coach Wes Weems said. “It’s just one of those things where the ball just seems to find him. In a situation like that, he almost always catches the ball in rhythm and knocks the ball down.”
This game was different from the first two meetings in which Fort Sumner (22-3) won by 31 and 24 points.
Logan 75, Melrose 58
LOGAN — Sometimes it takes only a minute for a dream of reaching the state tournament to vanish. The Melrose Buffaloes held a lead for most of the first half in a Region A playoff game at Logan on Thursday.
But the host Longhorns used a 7-0 spurt at the end of the second quarter to turn the tide and then pulled away for a 75-58 victory.
Logan (23-4) will advance to next week’s Class 1A state tournament in Albuquerque while Melrose (17-11) can only look forward to next year.
“We pressed them a little bit there and they turned the ball over — and we were able to capitalize with a couple of layups,” Logan coach Billy Burns said. “We got the score going back our way and got a little momentum.”
It all started with the Buffaloes holding a 23-22 lead with about a minute left before intermission. A pair of free throws from Logan’s Josh Franco with 51 seconds left gave the Longhorns their first lead since the opening basket of the game.
A few ticks of the clock later, Logan’s Jake Abercrombie finished off a fastbreak with a layup and Drew Perez picked off a pass and went in for a layup with 15 seconds remaining.
A six-point halftime advantage for Logan was expanded in the early moments of the second half when Perez and Acosta each connected on a basket. Melrose would cut the lead to seven on a couple of occasions in the third period, but could get no closer.