By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The third seed Logan Lady Longhorns will play an all-too-familiar district opponent, the second seed Melrose Buffaloes, in the 2A state basketball semifinals today at 3 p.m. at Bernalillo High School in Bernalillo.
This will be the fourth meeting of the two teams in the past month.
On Feb. 20, the Lady Longhorns 21-7, beat the Lady Buffaloes 61-57 to force a playoff game for first place in district.
In that game, which occurred the following day, Feb. 21, in Tucumcari, the Lady Longhorns won 60-57, securing first place in the district tournament and home-court advantage for the championship.
The Lady Buffaloes, 22-5, fought their way through the tournament from the third seed to advance to the championship game against Logan.
The Lady Buffaloes would win the district championship 72-64 in overtime with a 47-point performance by senior Caley Barnard.
After that game, Barnard said Logan is a tough team that is well coached and with disciplined players. She said the Lady Buffaloes had to play as a team, focus on the fundamentals and not get discouraged when they were down in order to overcome the Lady Longhorns.
Lady Longhorns Coach Clair Rachor said after the game that the two teams know each other so well that it’s always going to be a battle to win the game, and he was looking forward to playing the Lady Buffaloes again in the state tournament.
The Lady Longhorns beat 14th-seed Mescalero Apache 63-28 in the first round and 11th-seed Mountainair 64-28 in the quarter-finals to advance to today’s semi finals.
The Lady Buffaloes beat the 15th seed, Shiprock Northwest, 78-17 in the first round and the seventh seed Ramah 59-38 in the quarterfinals to move on the face Logan for the fourth time in a month for the semifinals of the 2A state basketball tournament.
Game time: 3 p.m., today at Bernalillo High School in Albuquerque.
The third seed Logan Longhorns will play second seed Escalante Lobos today in the 2A state basketball semifinals at 8:15 p.m. at the Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque.
Escalante is a bigger team than us across the board, said Randy Robertson, Longhorns head coach.
Robertson said the Longhorns will have to limit Escalante’s second-chance shots by controlling the defensive rebounds, while making sure the Longhorns are not out-rebounded on offensive boards.
“They are an aggressive team and we know on both offense and defense it’s going to be a struggle to get the rebound,” Robertson said of the Lobos.
The Longhorns advanced to the semifinals by defeating the To’hajiilee Warriors 68-64 Wednesday night.
The offense was lead by Longhorn junior Michael Estrada, who had 26-points in the game.
The Longhorns came out with intensity, outscoring and out-rebounding the Warriors, which hoisted the Longhorns to a 48-31 lead at half time.
Robertson’s showed confidence in his bench palyers by putting them in during several key series in the first half.
“Our non-starters came out and played huge for us and was great to see them doing great against a tough opponent like the Warriors,” Robertson said.
In the second half, however, the Warriors lived up to their name as they rallied to pull the game within three points.
“We didn’t come out in the second half the way we started the game,” Robertson said. “This allowed the Warriors to claw their way back into the game.”
The Warriors made four 3-pointers cutting away at the Longhorn’s lead and the Longhorns tried to answer in-kind with 3-point attempts of their own.
Robertson said the Longhorns would need to be patient and not oblige a team by shooting the three. He said when the Longhorns are on, they can make the shot from just about anywhere on the court.
In the second half, Robertson said, “we missed those long shots and the Warriors were set in position under the goal to come up with the rebound.”
He added, “The Warriors are a tough and scrappy team and they certainly were not going away,” Robertson said.
Game time: 8:15 p.m. Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.