Lady Longhorn Delani Hazen takes to the air for a lay-up during the Route 66 Classic Tournament.
The Route 66 Classic Tournament in Tucumcari drew in family and friends of teams from eastern and central New Mexico.
Shots like this kept the Logan Longhorns in the game Thursday against the Monte Del Sol Dragons of Santa Fe.
Although there were some blowouts during the first two days, there was no lack of nail-biting in the Rattler Snake Pit for the Route 66 Classic basketball tournament.
The first matches in the three-day event at Tucumcari have had some fast-paced hardwood action.
“This tournament has and is going to help our play a lot,” said Rattlers junior Freddie Beltran.
An example is the Tucumcari Rattlers loss, 62-54, to the Elida Tigers in the final match-up Friday night.
During the game, the lead exchanged hands several times and as each pulled ahead the crowd exploded.
With six seconds left in the third period, Rattlers senior Andrez Apodaca broke free after a steal and tied the game 45 all. But just as quick as the tie came, it was gone when a Tigers player pulled off a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Rattlers played hard to stay within four of the Tigers but missed free throws and better shooting by the Tigers helped them to pull ahead in the last few minutes.
“The kids played with great energy and I am proud of how they did tonight,” said Rattlers coach John Span.
Another game sure to be talked about is the Fort Sumner Lady Vixens against the Logan Lady Longhorns.
Only two days had passed since the two teams met. On Tuesday the Lady Longhorns beat the Lady Vixens 62-56 at Logan.
On Friday, however, the Lady Vixens were victorious, winning 33-29.
Much like the previous game, the Lady Longhorns and Lady Vixens duked it out to the very end.
“Logan is a good quality team and we have a lot in common with them,” said Lady Vixens coach Joel Wood. “We are both young teams that are building and learning and I think that they will be one of the strongest teams in their district.”
Late in third period, the Lady Longhorns tied the score at 18 all. But they had to do it without point guard senior Delani Hazen who had fouled out just seconds before.
By the start of the final period the score was 24-23 with the Lady Vixens leading. With two and one-half minutes remaining, missed free throws and a few bad pass by the Lady Longhorns allowed the Lady Vixens to pull away by 5 points.
In a defensive effort to maintain the lead the Lady Vixens played keep-away from the Lady Longhorns and came away with the win.
“It was a tough game,” said Lady Longhorns coach Clair Rochor. “We both did not give up any easy buckets. They hit their free throws and we did not and that could have been the factor in this game.”
Noon: Clovis C-team against the Estancia Lady Bears (Girls consolation)
1:30 p.m.: Logan Longhorns against the Clovis C-team (boys consolation)
3 p.m.: Logan Lady Longhrons againt the Tucumcari Lady Rattlers (Third place girls)
4:30 p.m.: Monte Del Sol against the Tucumcari Rattlers (third place boys)
6 p.m.: Fort Sumner Lady Vixens against the Elida Lady Tigers (First place girls)
7 p.m.: Fort Sumner Foxes against the Elida Tigers (First place boys)
Route 66 brackets
Monte Del Sol: 64
Fort Sumner: 79
Clovis Purple: 32
Clovis C-team: 32
Estnacia Jv: 25
Tucumcari Jv: 15
Fort Sumner: 51
Clovis C-team: 31
Clovis Purple: 14
Estancia Jv: 12
Clovis Purple: 69
Clovis C-team: 56
Estancia Jv: 26
Fort Sumner: 64
Monte Del Sol: 52
Fort Sumner: 33
Clovis Purple: 45
Estancia Jv: 24
Clovis C-team: 65
Tucumcari Jv: 8