By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
FARWELL — For the first time in four years, there’ll be a new boys champion in the Farwell Invitational.
Whiteface saw to that on Friday, holding three-time defending Texico to 10 field goals for the game and pulling away late for a 53-35 semifinal victory.
The Antelopes (4-4), who lost to Texico in the finals of this tourney in 2002, will play Melrose, a 62-59 winner over host Farwell on Friday night.
In a rough-and-tumble matchup that featured 47 fouls, the Wolverines simply couldn’t get anything going on offense.
Along with the poor field goal shooting, the Wolverines went 13-of-28 from the free throw line and committed 23 turnovers.
Despite their struggles, they were within 38-32 with 4:45 left after senior post Aaron Vaughan slipped inside for a basket.
Whiteface, which overcame 25 turnovers, outscored Texico 15-3 in the remaining time, getting several layups behind the Wolverines’ pressure.
“I’m at a loss to figure out what the problem is,” Texico coach Richard Luscombe said. “We play hard and we don’t seem to get any breaks, and then it just gets more and more frustrating.
“We’re not playing up to our potential right now.”
Texico led 2-0 and 4-2 early, but went through a 10 1/2-minute stretch of the first half without a field goal and fell behind 22-14 at halftime.
Daniel Schueler hit a pair of free throws and Courtney Luscombe added a 3-pointer to pull the Wolverines within three points early in the third period, but the Lopes held Texico to just two free throws the rest of the quarter.
“It just seemed like we would get a run going and then we’d do something bad,” coach Luscombe said. “We actually were more patient with our offense than we’ve been, but we just can’t finish (plays).”
Brent Patterson, a 6-foot-3 senior post, scored 21 points for the Lopes while senior guard Tony Beaseda came off the bench to add 12.
“We hadn’t really gotten in our groove this season,” Lopes coach Joe Carter said. “We’ve had a couple of players out, but now we’ve got them back and that changes everything for us.
“We really didn’t shoot the ball that well. We didn’t make a lot of free throws, but we made enough to get by.”