By Greg Perkins
The Lobos didn’t finish the sectional tournament on a strong note, but they more than made up for it in the second round of the Division III state tournament with a solid victory over Winslow on Friday night in Payson.
Snowflake, which had fallen to the No. 7 overall seed after losing in the sectional tournament, used a huge second period to race past 10th seeded Winslow by a final of 79-58. The Bulldogs earned their way to the second round with a 68-59 win over Northland Prep on Tuesday night.
The Lobos’ first round bye may have been just what they needed to regroup after several close games to close out the regular season. The first eight minutes were played fairly evenly, with the Lobos holding a two-point edge. Snowflake came alive in the second period, draining 30 points in eight minutes to take a commanding 20-point lead into the break. That lead held up throughout most of the second half, advancing the Lobos to round three in the state bracket.
Kurt Wood led Snowflake in scoring with 22 points and dished out seven assists. Travis Flake netted 18 and pulled down 13 rebounds. Caedon Ervien hit for 11 with three steals. Gunner Caldwell and Tanner Crosby scored 9 each. Kegan Bjornn had 5; Jordan Gardner, 4 and three steals; and Porter Black, 1.
The Lobos, now 26-3, will face No. 2 Cortez in the quarterfinal round at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale. With a win they would advance to the final four to see either No. 6 Palo Verde Magnet or No. 3 Chinle at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27. If they make it to the state championship game, it would be played at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, against one of the four remaining teams in the top half of the bracket, Thatcher, Valley Christian, Estrella Foothills or Combs.