By Jesse Wolfersberger: PNT staff writer
ELIDA — After blowing a 10-point halftime lead, Elida was able to hang on for the win the way they always do — behind its two seniors.
Kodi Armitage hit a free throw and Jewlie Paiz made a big steal in the final 30 seconds Firday to secure a 56-52 win against Logan in the Class 1A Region A semifinals.
Ahead by a point, Armitage hit the first of two free throws. She missed the second, but Paiz made a steal on the rebound and hit a layup to put the Lady Tigers ahead by four.
“I’ve been saying that all week, those two will take care of us,” Elida coach Dan Howard said. “And they took care of us in the end.”
Armitage led Elida (23-2) with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Armitage and Paiz are the only seniors on a team with two juniors, a sophomore, four freshman, and three eighth-graders.
“You just have to clear your head and not think about it,” Armitage said of her late free throw. “I knew that if I didn’t make it we were going to lose. Jewlie stepped up, she made a big play. She’s a big, big part of why we are where we are.”
After going into halftime down 30-20, Logan charged out of the break, scoring 22 points in the third quarter and chipping away at the lead.
“Logan came out on fire,” Howard said. “I’ve never seen a team shoot like they shot in the second half. We couldn’t shut down number 25 (Raynee Rachor). We didn’t have an answer for her.”
Rachor, a senior, scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Lady Longhorns (15-15).
With Friday’s win, the Lady Tigers secured a berth in the state tournament in Albuquerque next week.
Logan coach Russell Feerer said he was proud of how well his team played against a heavily-favored opponent.
“We didn’t get a lot of respect coming into this year,” Feerer said. “That’s what we strove for all year; to get a little respect, to put ourselves in a position like this. And we were there.”
The Lady Tigers would be working on a perfect season if not for the Texico Lady Wolverines, who handed Elida its losses.
Even with the blemishes, The Lady Tigers will head to Albuquerque with one of the best records in Class 1A.
“It feels good,” Armitage said. “It’s my senior year, you couldn’t end it any better. We have a good shot.”
Texico 45, Eunice 23.
DEXTER — Texico played tight defense and secured itself a berth in next week’s Class 2A state tournament in Albuquerque.
The Lady Wolverines held Eunice to six field goals in a 45-23 win Friday in a Region C semifinal. Texico faces host Dexter, which beat Santa Rosa 73-54 in Friday’s second game, in today’s 1 p.m. championship clash.
Texico, making its first trip to state since completing a three-peat in 2002, overcame a sluggish performance on offense. The Lady Wolverines opened an 11-1 lead after the first quarter, and stayed comfortably in front after that.
“We just had a bad shooting night,” Texico coach Keith Durham said. “But we played good enough defense.”
Sophomore Faith Martin led all scorers with 15 points for Texico (22-6), while senior Lori Richardson added 13.
Kynzi Davidson paced Eunice (18-11) with eight points.
“I’m proud of these girls,” Durham said. “It’ll be nice to see them go to state.”
Melrose 56, Grady 47
At Elida, Melrose took a slim 6-4 lead in the first quarter and led the rest of the way to down Grady 56-47 Friday in a Class A Region A semifinal, qualifying for next week’s state tournament.
Junior Zanessa Dodd scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Lady Buffaloes (13-16). Aerial Verble and Heather Blackburn notched 17 apiece for the Lady Bronchos (17-9).
Melrose faces District 3-1A rival and host Elida (23-2) at 2 p.m. today in the regional championship. Elida survived a scare in Friday’s first semifinal, edging Logan 56-52.