Lady Cats dump Nucla, Ouray

Ignacio senior Michelle Simmons (3) yanks in a defensive rebound at Ouray on Saturday, Feb. 2 as teammate Cloe Seibel (lower right) helps with a proper box-out on Lady Trojan Olivia Lockhart. The Lady Cats, following the previous night's home win over Nucla, completed the weekend's San Juan Basin League sweep with a 52-37 win over OHS.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

If last-second votes were to decide the night’s Winter Royalty senior queen, Jordan Cuthair likely would have swayed undecided voters with February’s first last-minute heroics.

Putting the fans into a frenzy with one of her signature, baseline-parallel line-drive shots that fell in for three, Cuthair all but polished off a personal nine-point second half, Ignacio’s 21-point fourth quarter, and visiting Nucla’s morale with one snap of her wrist.

But in the Lady Bobcats’ 68-37 San Juan Basin League victory, an additional significance was twofold. One, Cuthair’s output helped Ignacio’s developing reserve corps rack up a solid 29 points. And two, all 10 players canned at least one shot of one type or another.

Had an odd chest pain not sidelined energetic sophomore Sky Cotton (who’d led the bench brigade against NHS with 11 points) for lengthy stretches the following afternoon in Ouray, Ignacio could have claimed a rarer achievement: Having all players score in consecutive contests.

The parity of points proved to be a major plus against the Lady Trojans inside their House of Troy; OHS guard Jackie Saunders’ red-hot, 12-point third quarter was keeping Ouray in the contest, but Ignacio still led 37-26 beginning the fourth.

“We got it done,” said IHS head coach Justa Whitt, “but it got kind of sketchy out there.”

As it so happened, the last Lady Cats to score were starters: guards Michelle Simmons and Cloe Seibel. But with Seibel striking twice from downtown, Simmons twice from closer in, and the pair 4-for-4 at the free-throw line, IHS regained a much-needed intimidation factor for the final eight minutes.

With Ridgway transfer Bailey Kerson adding extra height in the post — she snared 10 rebounds — for coach Shawn Carroll, one collected carom on the offensive end quickly resulted in a midrange Sarah Pankow jumper and pressed Whitt into a preemptive timeout with 7:18 remaining and IHS up by nine.

A restarted Mariah Vigil quickly responded, scoring eight of her team-high 13 points (she’d led against Nucla with 14), and Seibel netted four (to give her 12; she’d had six versus NHS) as the Lady Cats outscored OHS 15-9 the rest of the way for a 52-37 victory.

Cuthair, making up for lost time earlier this season due to injury, scored six off the bench against the Lady Trojans, and Simmons also finished with a half-dozen (she’d posted a 5-7-5 line — points, rebounds, steals — against the Lady Mustangs). Starting forward Valerie Armstrong totaled 17 points for the weekend’s work and Gabriela Garcia had six, while reserves Roshae Weaver (six), Ellie Seibel (five) and Chrystianne Valdez (four) all chipped in to help IHS improve to 8-7 overall, 4-1 in the SJBL.

Saunders led all players in the Saturday, Feb. 2 game with 19 points, Kerson finished with five, and Pankow and post Olivia Lockhart each booked four as Ouray dropped to 2-11, 1-8. Stats for Nucla (5-8, 4-5 after a Feb. 2 home loss to Norwood) were not reported; the Lady Mustangs had trailed 36-20 at halftime.

Up next for Ignacio will be struggling Mancos tomorrow. Results from the Lady Bobcats’ non-league trip to Bayfield (7-7, 1-3 3A Intermountain) on Tuesday, Feb. 5, were unavailable by press time.

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