The No. 10 Lady Eagles fell in the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament to No. 2 Texico 47-30 on Tuesday at the Santa Ana Star Center.
Navajo Prep (14-13) was also eliminated by the Wolverines (21-7) in the state tournament last season in the semifinals as Texico went on to claim the title.
"It's hard. Every year, we get matched up with Texico so darn early in the playoffs," said Prep head coach Rainy Crisp.
The Lady Eagles hung with Texico for the opening four minutes, trailing 8-5, but the Wolverines closed the quarter on a 12-0 run, and Prep never got the deficit to single digits for the remainder of the contest.
"We came in with confidence, and they took it away with their defense and their scoring," Crisp said.
The Wolverines took a 31-14 lead into the halftime break after shooting 62 percent from the field, while Prep made only 28 percent of its field goal attempts.
"We knew that they were a good defensive team and that we were going to have to execute well," said Texico head coach Richard Luscombe. "They kind of threw us for a little bit when they went to a zone, because that's not what I expected to see."
Texico came out of the locker room for the third quarter and quickly put an end to any thoughts of a Lady Eagles' comeback, outscoring them 11-1 in the quarter.
"We've prided ourselves on our defense," Luscombe said.
Prep continued to fight in the fourth with the game out of reach, outscoring the Wolverines 15-5 over the final eight minutes.
"I'm very proud of the girls," Crisp said. "They didn't back down and fought until the end. If we would have played like we played in that fourth quarter. We had nothing to lose and so the girls came out and just played. If we took that mentality in the first three quarters, then I think it would have been a closer game.
Following the loss, Crisp gave credit to Texico for getting the Lady Eagles out of their game plan.
"They know how to win. They know what to do," Crisp said. "They know what it takes to get to that championship game. It's like embedded in them."
Crisp is hopeful that reaching the quarterfinals will benefit her group going forward.
"We have a lot of girls that didn't have that experience of playing at the state level," she said. "Hopefully now we know what we need to do to play against a quality team like Texico."
Texico forward Brianna Reyna gave the Lady Eagle post players trouble through the game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Mckenzi Mayfield also added 12 points for Texico, while Rea Lynn Prather chipped in 10 during the victory.
Hannah Antone and Matheney Wilson led Prep with six points apiece.
Prep freshman Jasmine Coleman struggled offensively, scoring just two points, but had a strong defensive outing with nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Texico will move on to the semifinals and play Prep's rival, No. 3 Navajo Pine, for a spot in the title game after Pine dispatched of No. 6 Zuni.
Joshua Perry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.