Texico’s girls lost their perfect record this week in the Plateau Wireless Classic, but they got out of it what coach Keith Durham wanted.
Twins Jordyn and Jaylyn Cooper combined for 22 points, including 11-of-12 at the free throw line, and the Lady Wolverines made key plays late to pull out a 42-39 win over Amarillo Caprock in Thursday’s third-place game at Rock Staubus Gym.
Pressed out of their game by El Paso Coronado in a 70-36 opening-round loss on Tuesday, the Lady Wolverines (9-1) showed improvement against another squad which likes to press. They had 20 turnovers in this one, compared to 27 in the loss to the Lady T-Birds, but only two came in the fourth quarter.
Meantime, the Class 4A Lady Longhorns (11-6) committed five of their nine floor errors in the final stanza.
“I was very pleased with the effort and our taking care of the ball,” Durham said. “We did a lot better today than we did on Tuesday.”
Durham said he likes to push his Class 2A squad by stepping up in competition against larger schools.
“After we leave here, we know we have to play hard for 32 minutes,” he said. “I think that’s probably the biggest factor to me (in the win).”
After falling behind 9-2 early, the Lady Wolverines took their first lead at 13-12 on two Jordyn Cooper free throws early in the second period.
They were up 19-17 at halftime, and the teams exchanged the lead several times early in the third period before Caprock opened a 32-27 lead at period’s end.
Caprock forced 18 Texico turnovers in the first three periods, but had a hard time finding the basket in its own right.
“We didn’t convert (turnovers),” coach Wes Torres said. “I would say we missed about 10 or 12 layups. But they’re a good team; they’ve got a lot of tradition, and that’s what we’re trying to build.”
The Lady Longhorns managed only one field goal in the final period. After Texico opened with the first nine points of the period — including a game-tying 3-pointer by sophomore guard Mel Lucero — Caprock pushed in front one more time before 6-foot-1 sophomore Shaylee Anderson’s basket on a feed from Jordyn Cooper gave Texico the lead for good with 2:25 left.
Jaylyn Cooper finished with 12 points, including 6-of-6 free throws, while Jordyn Cooper was 5-of-6 from the line for 10 points.
“We knocked down our free throws,” said Jaylyn Cooper, who was named to the all-tournament team. “I’d say t hat was a big part of it.
“I think the difference (from Tuesday) was that we played hard the whole game.”
Caprock’s leading scorer was junior post Mariah Jeffries with nine points.