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Bobcats bear down, dump Demons

Ignacio 145-pounder Lorenzo Pena works hard in trying for a pin against his Hotchkiss opponent on Day 2 of the 2A-Region I Championships inside Colorado Mesa University's Brownson Arena. Pena, working back from injury, notched a win for himself over the Bulldog, but did not place in the weight's top four--denying him a chance to wrestle at State in Denver.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest |The Southern Ute Drum

Remember the Beastie Boys song about ‘slow and low’ being ‘the tempo’?

Visiting SunUte Community Center Friday night, Feb. 13, Ridgway put forth a game plan looking to stress both by a) sacrificing speed in their own half-court sets to b) work the clock in hopes of minimizing the score by limiting Ignacio’s quick-strike capabilities.

So one would have to say that in holding the Bobcats – still riding very high off a dominating road win at 3A Bayfield on the tenth – to just 44 points in the end, after surrendering a fast 18 in the opening quarter, the Demons could claim something of a victory.

Their own 27-point output, however, denied them the win history books will ultimately remember.

“I feel like it was good for them to change it up … run it slower a little – something that we’re not used to,” junior guard Tucker Ward said. “In case some other team along the stretch throws that at us, we’ll be ready for it.”

“Ridgway kind of slowed the ball down on us, got us playing tired,” agreed junior guard Anthony Manzanares. “We just had to come out faster and better.”

Luckily for IHS, their initial eight minutes’ production would have practically withstood all challenges had it not been for RHS guard Grant Saville cranking up his own aggression to post a seven-point fourth quarter.

Junior gunner Wyatt Hayes, whose team-leading 22 points inside BHS Gymnasium may have been the most exciting of his young career, sank a buzzer-beating three-pointer to close the first frame against Ridgway and put the Cats (14-2, 9-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) up by eleven.

Ward then quickly followed suit beginning the second, converting an old-fashioned three-point play which already had the guests on the proverbial ropes, and Ignacio would later go into halftime in complete control, 27-12.

Senior forward Adison Jones then dealt the knockout blow in the third quarter, netting seven of his game-high 15 points in helping IHS increase its advantage to a no-doubt 37-16 entering the fourth.

“With two big guys down low, a great shooter like Wyatt, speed with ‘Tuck’…all of us are contributing to this team,” Manzanares (five points) said. “We really don’t have one man who scores, so it’s going good!”

“Any one of our guys wants to have the big shot; every one wants to score for the team,” concurred Ward (ten points). “Or help in some way, whether rebounding … or anything! Whatever we can do!”

Hayes finished with eight points versus the Demons, and junior center Nick Herrera totaled six.

Saville ended up registering 11 points for Ridgway (6-10, 4-8), and guard Hasten Beamer booked seven. Forward Thor Ronemus chipped in four, guard Quinlin McNatt three and forward Eli Hagemeyer two.

IHS hosts Norwood next on the Friday, Feb. 20 then ends the regular season the next night at Telluride. Results from the Feb. 17t trip to Monticello, Utah, were unavailable by the Drum’s deadline. The Buckaroos went into the much-anticipated contest 13-3 overall, 6-0 in UHSAA Region 19, and ranked No. 3 in 1A by the Deseret News (Ignacio was third in the 2A poll).

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