TULAROSA — The Dora Coyotes got a taste of basketball west of the Pecos Thursday at the Tularosa Tournament and found it not to their liking.
The Cliff Cowboys got an early jump on Dora in the opening round of the tournament and never let the Coyotes (5-3) back in the game. Cliff scored 22 points in the first quarter while holding Dora to five points.
The Coyotes battled back in the second quarter to outscore the Cowboys 10-9 in the second but that still left a big margin for Dora to make up for in the second half.
“It was a horrible start,” Dora coach Ty Thatcher said. “We struggled with press a little bit but they just hit there first four or five shots and had us on the ropes off the start.”
Cliff came out in the third with a patient zone-extending offense that forced the Coyotes into man-to-man. Thatcher said the Cowboys were averaging 30-40 passes between shot attempts during that quarter, a clock-chewing tactic that his team couldn’t come up with an answer for.
Tyler Wilhoit had 10 points to lead the Coyotes while J.R. Gonzales had eight.
Cody Dickerson led the Cowboys with 17, Jared Mendenhall had 14 and Joseph Estrada got 10.
Dora plays Dexter today at 1 p.m. after that team was sent to the losers’ bracket by Santa Rosa. In other tournament action, Tularosa beat Capitan and Eunice defeated Cloudcroft. All teams are guaranteed three games in the tournament, so Dora will have a Saturday game as well.