By Marty Mayfield
District 5A Tournament championship games took place Saturday evening, Feb. 27th in Sim Brown Gym in Springer as both Springer teams earned a bye into the championship game by finishing in first place at the end of the regular season. The games did not disappoint the fans as both games went down to the wire and ended with a one point ladies and 2-point boys win for Springer.
Both Lady Ram coach Patricia Le Doux and Lady Red Devil coach Thomas Ybarra planned to change things up for this game as both teams have played each other during the regular season. They wanted to give the other team a different look to try and gain the advantage. Yet it took almost three minutes before the Lady Rams could take control and scored first and quickly extended their lead. The Lady Red Devils however weren’t to be denied as they battled back from a 11 point deficit to end the first half of the game down five. The Lady Rams played a physical game and by the second quarter were sending Springer players to the free throw line. Kara Burton made the trip six times and dropped in five of those free throws.
As the second half got under way the Lady Red Devils found their rhythm and the battle was on, as they tied the game early on in the third quarter and finished it off with an eight point lead. The Lady Rams however weren’t going to give up that easy and they too battled back from the deficit to tie the game. It was back and forth with the lead changing and it finally came down to the free throw line. This is one of the those games that could have gone either way from the free throw line as both teams made and missed those shots late in the quarter.
The clocked ticked down and both teams were at the line in last few seconds of the game. A shot hit and shot missed and the tie finally came down to that one free throw that won the game for Springer. With 13 seconds on the clock and a one point lead Hanah Burton put up a three attempt and missed. Cimarron lost the ball and fouled but allowed the clock to wind down to three seconds. Kara Burton went to the line and missed her free throws, but Springer pressed and prevented Cimarron from making it down the court as the buzzer sounded for the one point win.
Cimarron 14 11 7 21 53
Springer 7 13 20 14 54
Cimarron High Point
Reina Argüello 26 1 of 4 free throws
Free Throws 9 of 19 attempts
Springer High Point
Kara Burton 16 8 of 9 free throws
Alicia Arias 14 0 of 2 free throws
Free throws 14 of 24 attempts
The boys championship game pitted the arch-rivals Springer and Maxwell against each other for the third time this season. Springer had won all three games including in the Cowbell, so it was important for Maxwell to “show up”. Maxwell definitely came out to play and soon took the lead but never really dominated the game. Springer however didn’t waiver and soon battled back and took the lead ending the first quarter with a four point lead.
The second quarter saw Springer take control and despite sending Maxwell to the charity stripe nine times they extended the lead to 11 with strong play under the basket.
As the second half got underway the third quarter saw Maxwell come alive and use the free throw line to close the gap. The Bears went to the free throw line 10 times and added six of their 20 points out-scoring Springer by 12. At the end of the third quarter Maxwell had taken the lead by one, 40-39.
The fourth quarter saw lead changes and strong defensive play yet the whole game came down to the last few seconds. The game was close or tied as Springer stepped up to the line and missed giving Maxwell a chance. But, it was not to be, as Maxwell scored and then Springer tied it with only a few seconds on the clock and the ball went out of bounds. During the coaches strategy sessions, Coach Brazil for Maxwell and Coach Apodaca for Springer used a total of three timeouts. Springer’s Zac Caldwell inbounded the ball and caught Jacob Quintana heading for the basket. Quintana found the opening, drove in for the lay up and it went and through the net with only nine tenths of a second on the clock. The nail biter went to Springer and the celebration began with the 56-54 win.
The NMAA Seeding and Selection process for the state tournament will begin on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
Maxwell 10 10 20 14 54
Springer 14 17 8 17 56
Maxwell High Point
Carl Gonzales 13 6 of 10 free throws
Andrew Archuleta 11 7 of 8 free throws
Free throws 20 of 31 attempts
Springer High Point
Isaiah Garcia 13 0 for 1 free throws