By Dave Wagner
TEXICO — Grady boys coach Ken Kostedt thinks the Bronchos’ 4-10 record this season is a little deceptive.
“All of our games this year have been close except for two,” he said. “We just haven’t been on the winning end that much. I think we’ve played some talented teams.”
Thursday night, Grady took advantage of a rebuilding opponent in defending Class 1A state champion Dora, jumping on the Coyotes early and holding them off late for a 56-48 win in the fifth-place of the 47th annual EPAC basketball tournament at Texico Sports Arena.
Junior John Schueler dominated inside and scored 18 points while junior Jarrod Lindsey added 14 for the Bronchos.
“They’re good ballplayers,” Kostedt said of Schueler and Lindsey. “They’re the ones we build around, but we’re getting some points now out of other kids.”
Dora (2-8), with no seniors and little experience back from its championship team, got 12 points from sophomore Brent Hays — all on 3-pointers — and 11 from junior Clayton Stokes.
Except for a 2-2 tie, Grady led all the way. Behind Schueler’s 14-point second quarter, the Bronchos carried a 26-11 lead into halftime and extended that to 36-18 late in the third quarter.
Sophomore Tyler Wilhoit, who sat out Dora’s game Wednesday against Texico after suffering a mild concussion in a first-round win over House on Tuesday, entered the game for the first time around that point and helped inspire a Coyotes rally that closed the margin to 40-32 early in the final period.
“They started hitting their 3s,” Kostedt said. “And the Wilhoit kid made a big difference when he came in.”
Dora stayed in striking distance with the help of eight 3-pointers, but the Coyotes shot just 4-of-18 from the free throw line and three of their starters eventually fouled out.
The Bronchos also struggled from the foul line, missing an opportunity to put the game away earlier by hitting just 12-of-30 free throw attempts.