Ethen Evans — a 6-foot-5 senior forward for the Longhorns — said whether it has been on the basketball court or football field the Coyotes have had their number for the last 12 months.
The No. 6 Coyotes capitalized on opportunities during the second and third quarters to take a 75-63 victory over the No. 11 Longhorns in a Class 1A playoff contest on Tuesday at the Andrews Performance Center.
“(Borden County) is a good team in everything they play,” said Evans, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “They are just good. You can’t knock them for that. We came out a little slow and it should have been a little closer game, but they won.”
Borden County head coach Bubba Edwards believes the consistent contests between the Coyotes and Longhorns is forming a “West Texas rivalry.”
A year ago in the regional quarterfinals, Borden County topped Buena Vista to earn its first trip to the Region 2-1A Tournament. The Coyotes followed up in the fall with a double overtime victory against the Longhorns during the Class 1A Division I football regional semifinals. Borden County would go on to win the state championship.
“We all know about the double overtime football game,” Edwards said. “Last year, we had to squeak by those guys to get to the regional tournament for the first time in school history. This is the third time. We are kind of building a little West Texas rivalry between the two of us. It’s a great battle and a great clash. It’s a respected battle.”
Borden County (20-3) held a double-digit lead for a majority of the second half and one Coyote — Easton Edwards — didn’t let Buena Vista mount a full comeback.
The 6-3 junior finished with a game-high 27 points and supplied multiple baskets to quell the Longhorns rally attempt. Easton Edwards sank five 3-pointers, which included four in the final 16 minutes.
“We went on a run and then they went on a run,” Buena Vista head coach David Whaley said. “They kind of met us run for run.”
Despite the 20-point advantage with three minutes left in the third quarter, the Longhorns (25-5) whittled that deficit to 11, 54-43, after a pair of 3-pointers from DJ Whaley. Evans made it single digits to start the fourth quarter, 54-45, but Borden County continued to answer.
The Coyotes eventually grabbed a 19-point, 72-53, lead after Easton Edwards hit his fifth 3-pointer at the 3:11 mark of the fourth quarter. The Longhorns scored 10 of the last 13 points.
“We are a second-half team usually,” Evans said. “If we aren’t down by 30 going into the second half, I’m not too worried. We brought it back to nine, but we just couldn’t pull it through.”
After the Coyotes held a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, they pushed that advantage to nine as they scored the first eight points of the second. Buena Vista countered with an 8-0 run, but Borden County closed out the first half with an 11-4 run to grab a 36-28 at halftime.
Bubba Edwards said one of the strengths is the ability to get all the players evolved, which was evident with four players in double figures. Diego Bernal posted 16 points, while Trace Richey and Nick Proulx each had 10.
“We made some great passes and that’s what this team is about,” the Borden County head coach said. “One thing that we are good at is we pass the ball well. We are very unselfish.”
DJ Whaley supplied 18 points for the Longhorns. Joseph Sarabia supplied nine and Josh Rodriguez finished with six.
David Whaley said one key that will help set Buena Vista apart next season is the work the players do over the summer. The Longhorns have 13 underclassmen — including four starters.
“The guys that are able to come back, they see the magnitude of this game,” David Whaley said. “They know what’s in front of them. It’s really going to be what happens in the offseason. Outside what I do with them and what (Buena Vista football coach) John Benavidez does with them, it’s going to be what they do in the summer.
“The X’s and O’s aside, they have the ability to matchup with any team. It’s going to be a matter of who does the extra in the offseason. It will be who gets up at 5 a.m. to do that extra little bit.”
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