The Texline Tornadoes celebrate after holding off Eula, 58-56, in a Class 1A state semifinal in Denver City on Tuesday night. [Tommy King/ Press Pass Sports]
DENVER CITY— The No. 5-ranked ranked Texline Tornadoes had to give it everything they had to hold off Eula in the Class 1A state semifinals, but down the stretch the Tornadoes found a way with a thrilling 58-56, win Tuesday night in Denver City.
This nail biter came down to the final minutes.
Texline let the Pirates hang around, stuggling mightily from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter going 5–of-15. That allowed Eula to cut the lead down to 58-56 with three seconds remaining. With a missed free throw attempt by Luther, Eula put up a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer that did not connect.
“I feel like we earned a little bit of luck,” Texline head coach Coby Beckner said. “Things didn’t go our way, and we missed some big free throws. The one thing we didn’t do was lose focus or panic. We kept battling, and I was proud of our team for that.”
Texline (25-4) is headed to the 1A state title game for the first time since winning it all in 2015. The Tornadoes will now face Slidell at 10 a.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome. Slidell (29-3) defeated Rocksprings in the other semifinal Tuesday, 55-37.
Texline post player Lozano was a force for when they needed him the most. The team looked to him early in the matchup as the Luther brothers, Colton and Will, were sidelined early due to foul trouble.
Lozano leaned on his 6-foot-5 frame taking advantage of the first half scoring nine of his18 points in the first two quarters, as the Tornadoes took a 24-19 lead into intermission.
In the second half, it was All-State guard, Will Luther with the scoring privileges. Luther found 12 of his team-high 23 points in the final two quarters of the game. He had to match the scoring effort of Eula’s Dakota Boles who exploded in the second half for 19 points in the of his game-high 26.
As the fourth quarter began, the Tornadoes got off to a hot start, converting on their first three shots taking a 10 point lead at 43-33. However, the Pirates kept their heads up and continued to fight on cutting the Texline lead down time after time. But when the Tornadoes needed a big bucket they’d find Lozano in the post finished to get the clutch points.
“I felt like our energy was high,” Lozano said. “Willy Luther really helped us, and we got it done. We’re all excited to be going back to the state championship. We feel like this is our year.”
Texline 10 24 36 58
Eula 8 19 33 56
T— Will Luther 23, Noel Lozano 18. E— Dakota Boles 26, Clayton Gray 12. Records: Texline 25-4; Eula 21-10.