One could have thought it humorous, if not fitting that for all he’d done to make Ignacio’s No. 2 jersey about the most feared sight approaching any defender in the San Juan Basin League – if not all of southwestern Colorado – Wyatt Hayes deserved to earn Second Team All-2A for the completed 2015-16 season.
But that honor (presented by CHSAANow.com, ColoradoPreps.com and MaxPreps.com), revealed March 25, may have been determined primarily – if for no other reason – due to the fact a First Team five had already been chosen and having six starters is, well, against the rules.
Held by Paonia to a point total ironically equal to his aforementioned number in his final prep contest, the true – albeit very much under-the-weather – Hayes was on display the previous afternoon inside CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena against Ellicott, as he and EHS senior guard Morgan Murray put on a show for the fans.
Able to handle the ball as fluidly as his counterpart and just as eager to fire from long range, Murray won the head-to-head scoring race, 14 points to 12, in the first half but Hayes finished with 21 points to his 17 as the Bobcats thumped the Thunderhawks 73-55 to survive into the State Championships’ fifth-place game versus PHS.
“The poor kid was so damned tired – I never subbed him one time – but he was able to lead our team to victory,” head coach Chris Valdez said, after IHS’ victory over Center to clinch one of the two State berths from the Region I Championships in Alamosa. “And whether it’s by scoring or by other things he was still the leader.”
“He may not have as many points as he usually does, but look how he gets his team involved!” he continued, alluding to Hayes’ 18 points, 13 rebounds, ten assists, and eight steals in the March 5 win. “He has over ten assists almost every game in the postseason, he’s hitting the big shot when he has to.”
This year Hayes – who helped the Cats go 89-14 in four years – totaled 363 points in Ignacio’s 26 outings – an average of 13.9 per – with a high of 29 in a 63-56 win at 4A Montezuma-Cortez on Jan. 9. Other statistics, through only 19 contests reported to MaxPreps, show him also in the neighborhood of eight rebounds per game, as well as seven assists and five steals per – all of which were right in line with his final performance (7 reb, 7 ast, 5 stl) in a 46-41 loss to PHS.