Lady Bobcats down Nucla, up record to 11-0

Focused solely on retrieving a loose ball, Ignacio's Morgan Herrera (30) bowls over Nucla's Ashley Steele during 2A/1A San Juan Basin League action, Jan. 26 inside SunUte Community Center.
Ignacio's Avionne Gomez (25) somehow twists herself to shoot while drawing a blocking foul on Nucla's Cheyenne Joseph (5) during 2A/1A San Juan Basin League action, Jan. 26 inside SunUte Community Center.
Ignacio’s Kiana Valdez (2) is fouled by Nucla’s Jacquelyn Terrell (12) while rebounding a missed free throw during 2A/1A San Juan Basin League action, Jan. 26 inside SunUte Community Center.
Ignacio's Allisianna Baker (10) tries stealing the ball from Nucla's Taylor Sutherland (13) during 2A/1A San Juan Basin League action, Jan. 26 inside SunUte Community Center.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Gomez and Herrera combine for 29 points

Whether or not time heals all wounds won’t be seen for quite a while. Some tempers, heated during a 2A/1A San Juan Basin League battle which, not surprisingly, became all the more chippy as it wore on, nearly boiled over as players and fans exited SunUte Community Center. Both the Nucla Lady Mustangs and Ignacio Lady Bobcats returned home at least knowing they won’t square off for another basketball season.

With senior guard Avionne Gomez and sophomore center Morgan Herrera registering the Jan. 26 game’s first nine points before freshman guard Ashley Steele got the guests going with two free throws and 5:11 left in the first quarter, IHS managed to build up a double-digit lead – at 14-2, via three Allisianna Baker FTs – before the midway mark, en route to a 21-8 lead after the eight minutes and ultimately a 61-22 victory.

“We’ve definitely improved, so we were just looking to try our hardest this time,” said Steele, alluding to the crews’ Dec. 9 engagement, won 58-15 by Ignacio, at Montezuma-Cortez’s tournament. “We knew coming in here it was going to be tough, but we tried our best.”

“We came out slow and sloppy,” said IHS freshman Ebonee Gomez, who scored two points, “didn’t think they were going to push that hard.”

And it showed. Though unable to fully capitalize on the scoreboard, NHS (2-10, 2-4 SJBL) at least gave themselves a fighting chance as Herrera picked up her third personal foul with 5:25 left in the second quarter and Gomez hers with 4:09 still remaining – sending both to the bench until after halftime.

Lady Mustang junior Caitlyn Littlejohn went to the charity stripe ten times alone in the second quarter, but converted only four attempts as the then-#8 [CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll, 1/22] Lady ’Cats still held a 34-15 lead at intermission.

But with all of Trae Seibel’s regulars back on the floor beginning the second half, Ignacio ran away and outscored Nucla 22-1 in the third quarter, helped by six points courtesy sophomore Larissa Gallegos, five courtesy the elder Gomez and a three-pointer from junior Kiana Valdez.

And when Littlejohn picked up her fourth foul with 4:18 left [she would foul out with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter], IHS could breathe a little easier knowing the visitors had just two substitutes available.

“It was a longer court, so we got out of breath faster,” said the younger Gomez, alluding to the alternate site used, with IHS Gymnasium being arranged for the next day’s wrestling tournament. “So we need to run more and work as a team more.”

Avionne Gomez’s 15 points led all players, and Herrera was right behind with 14. Gallegos also reached double figures with her ten, and freshman post Shelcie Gosney was close with seven as nine different Lady ’Cats scored at least one.

Having scored six first-quarter points, Steele totaled an NHS-best ten and was 4-of-5 from the foul line. Littlejohn finished with her four points, sophomore Cheyenne Joseph was 3-of-4 for her three, sophomores Jacquelyn Terrell and Hailey Hibbert each netted a two-pointer, and junior Chyenne Barrett hit one of two FTs.

Having improved to 7-0 against the league and 11-0 overall, Ignacio was to next host Dolores on Thursday, Feb. 1, but results were unavailable at press time. The Lady ’Cats will then host Norwood – whom they’d trounced 68-29 back on Jan. 20 – on Feb. 3, in preparation for a 2/6 rumble with 4A Durango on the neutral floor of Durango-based Fort Lewis College.

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