Late baskets boost Melrose to EPAC tournament sweep

Jan. 16—MELROSE — Melrose's girls looked like they were going to lose, while the boys team was poised for a big win in Saturday's Eastern Plains Athletic Conference tournament finals.

In the end, it took some late heroics from the Odom siblings to get it done against Logan.

The Lady Buffs overcame a 12-point, third-quarter deficit with senior Graci Odom providing the winning basket in a 44-43 win over the Lady Longhorns. Then, in the boys' final, top-seeded and unbeaten Logan erased a 14-point deficit with six minutes left to take a one-point lead, only to have sophomore Jaxon Odom get inside to scoring the decide bucket with nine seconds and give Melrose a 57-56 triumph.

The top-seeded Lady Buffs (12-2) struggled from nearly the get-go and trailed 37-31 entering the final period.

"They shot it really well," Melrose girls coach Kevin Lackey said of the third-seeded Lady Longhorns (10-5). "They caught us scrambling (on defense) and they hit a few 3s."

Graci Odom, who finished with 19 points, made two free throws with 1:40 left to pull Melrose to 43-42. After a traveling call on Logan, Odom was able to get a driving shot to go with 42 seconds remaining and the Lady Buffs held on when Logan sophomore Desta Rose's 3-pointer came up short at the buzzer.

"It was a long (42) seconds," Odom said.

Senior Karlee Elliott added 11 points for the Lady Buffs with five coming in the final stanza, including a 3-pointer.

"We kind of got momentum going, and then we kind of lost it," Odom said. "Toward the end, we just slowed it down and played hard."

Rose finished with 12 points and senior Lizzy Horner added 10 for Logan. Both had a pair of 3-pointers.

Melrose's boys took control with a 13-0 run spanning most of the second period, and led 29-18 at halftime behind 10 points from Jaxon Odom and nine from junior Brayden Eldridge.

The Longhorns (14-1) got within six with about two minutes to play in the third period, but the second-seeded Buffaloes built their cushion to 53-39 on a 3-pointer by junior Josiah Roybal with six minutes left.

Logan suddenly came to life, going on a 17-2 surge and taking the lead on a baseline shot by senior Brock Burns with 35 seconds left. After a timeout, the Buffs got the ball to Odom for a tally on the low block.

Logan then turned the ball over and fouled, but had a final chance after two missed free throws. Burns' desperation heave from the backcourt was off the mark, though, as time expired.

"It was a great way to end one of the longest running tournaments in New Mexico," Buffs coach Drew Hatley said. "It was fun for the fans, and I was proud of the kids' effort."

Odom finished with 14 points, while Eldridge had 13 and junior Chance Brittenum 12.

"We stayed focused, and when it was my time I had to just go do it," Odom said. "It's a good win, but we just have to keep our heads up. We'll definitely see them again (in District 6-1A play)."

Burns led all scorers with 20 points for the Longhorns, while sophomores Hayden Bruhn and Mason Wallin chipped in 18 and 16, respectively. Those three combined for all 38 Logan points after halftime.

"I was proud of the way our guys fought through the end," Logan boys coach Kyle Griffiths said. "We hit some shots and got some stops (to get back into it), but Melrose made a play at the end."

In other final-round boys games:

Fort Sumner 78, Texico 71 (3rd) — Senior guard Joaquin Segura scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half, and the second-seeded Foxes (11-3) held off a late Texico comeback.

Senior Cash Burney added 22 points while sophomore Jordan Holland posted five 3-pointers and 19 points for Fort Sumner. Senior Cade Figg led four players in double digits for the fourth-seeded Wolverines (8-7) with 21 points, while senior Kyle Gonser and junior Steen North each scored 13 and senior Daltyn Cain chipped in 11.

Grady 58, Elida 40 (5th) — The fifth-seeded Bronchos (6-5) broke the game open in the fourth frame, holding the seventh-seeded Tigers to just two points. Senior Zane Rush scored 24 points and freshman Zander Ciancio tossed in 15 for Grady.

Senior Seth Jimenez led Elida (5-9) with 13 points while junior Seth Smith and sophomore Dylan Dobbins added nine each, including a trio of 3-pointers for Smith.

Floyd 43, Dora 35 (7th) — Senior Benton Cain tallied 11 of his 15 points in the opening stanza while senior Drew Essary had eight of his 14 in the final frame for the eighth-seeded Broncos (5-6). Senior Cole Kircher led the sixth-seeded Coyotes (7-5) with 14 points and freshman Carson Kircher, his brother, tallied 11, with each connecting on a pair of 3s.

In other final-round girls clashes:

Fort Sumner 34, Texico 33 (3rd) — Junior Emmarie Casaus scored with less than a second remaining in regulation to lift the second-seeded Vixens (10-4) past the Lady Wolverines.

Texico (5-9), seeded fourth, carried a four-point lead into the final stanza but was held to four points.

Freshman Sienna Segura led all scorers with 12 points for Fort Sumner while junior Allyssa Casaus had nine. For Texico, senior Sonia Ortiz finished with nine points.

Dora 50, Grady 36 (5th) — The fifth-seeded Lady Coyotes (9-4) led 18-6 at the quarter, then opened a 24-point cushion by the end of the third.

Senior Faith Jasso netted 28 points — 23 in the first three periods — while sophomore Dakota Jones added nine for Dora. The sixth-seeded Lady Bronchos (6-6) got 14 points from senior December Garza and nine from senior Taylor Foote.

Elida 49, Floyd 33 (7th) — Freshman Kembri Norman tallied three 3-pointers and 17 points and the seventh-seeded Lady Tigers (8-7) broke the game open with a 12-4 surge in the third stanza.

Freshman Addison Yates added nine points for Elida. Leading scores for the No. 8 seed Lady Broncos (1-10) were eighth-grader Klowie Bustamante with two 3-pointers and 12 points and senior Jona Baros with 10, including 8-for-8 from the foul line.