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Inside punch powers Legacy to tourney title

Legacy’s Latia Matthews is “trying to own” the paint every time she steps on the basketball court.

The senior center seemed to have a monopoly on it Saturday.

Matthews had 13 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Longhorns to a 50-34 victory over Coronado in the championship game of the Warrior Classic at Western.

“I just had to get in position and be strong, like coach teaches us every day in practice,” Matthews said. “It’s nothing different. We’ve got to play big down there.”

Matthews had a three-point play, a block and an assist in the final minute of the third quarter to help Legacy (5-0) build a 37-22 lead. The Longhorns never relinquished momentum.

Matthews was named tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring eight points in a 59-29 rout of Durango and nine points in a 63-36 win over Cimarron-Memorial in Saturday’s semifinals.

Senior forward Makayla Hicks supported Matthews with 11 points and six rebounds in the title game.

“I think it’s going to be a nice one-two punch with the post players,” Legacy coach Tiffany Richardson said. “If (Matthews) misses a shot, Hicks is cleaning up the boards and vice versa.”

Legacy guard Shakita Cox received all-tournament honors after scoring nine points in the title game.

The Longhorns held the Cougars (4-1) to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters. Matthews credited the team’s communication on defense.

“We were talking and doing everything we needed to do,” she said. “We had to be there for each other in help-side defense.”

Nicole Ruffino scored 12 points and Amanda Decker dished out four assists for Coronado. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.

Cimarron’s Traci Parks and Foothill’s Bri Higgins rounded out the all-tournament team.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.

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