Veteran Texico coach Richard Luscombe really wasn’t sure how a Wolverine team could lose half of its championship roster, win 22 straight games during the regular season, and pick off Class 2A’s top two seeds to repeat.
But it might have been a perfect football season that pushed the Wolverines to come close to perfection on the basketball court.
“These kids are used to winning,” Luscombe said. “I think the biggest deal is, they don’t believe they’re going to beat.”
That was the case nearly all season for the Wolverines (29-3), who never lost consecutive games and went 8-1 in games decided by five or less.
But without that one time in nine games they didn’t win the close one, the Wolverines might have never had the same motivation.
With the District 6-2A title up for grabs Feb. 28, the Santa Rosa Lions came to Texico, never trailed and held off a late challenge for a 54-50 win in double overtime.
“I think it gave us incentive to be back,” Luscombe said. “We knew we didn’t play well in (that) game. I’m not taking anything from Santa Rosa, but we didn’t play very well.”
The Lions got the No. 2 seed, and No. 4 Texico had some upsets to pull. After holding off Bosque for a 47-43 win, the Wolverines got a little bit of luck against top-seeded Mesilla Valley, escaping with a 58-57 win on a Jose Posada bank-shot 3-pointer as time expired. It was Texico’s only lead of the game.
“I knew we could get back there,” said Texico sophomore Lucas Walthers, who scored 22 points against Mesilla Valley.
In the title game, Texico took control early against Santa Rosa with a 16-0 run, and held off a late challenge for the 48-46 win.
Luscombe credited senior leadership from Mario Posada, Brett Anderson and Levi Richards, but admitted a youth movement played a heavy role. The Wolverines transitioned from a 2007-08 squad that relied heavily on seniors Casey Crist, Daniel Schueler and Courtland Luscombe.
“This is a different team,” Coach Luscombe said after the title-game win. “We go to different kids, and thankfully, they’ve stepped up all year.”
The Wolverines won’t have as much mystery in 2009, with Seth Bailey and Lucas Walthers returning, along with Jose Posada. This time, they’ll seek to three-peat, and they’ll never count themselves out.
“I think kids expect to be successful at Texico,” Luscombe said. “With that attitude, they don’t expect anything but the best.”