Cats make statement at Demons’ expense

Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS drubs Durango, cops #1 ranking

Fourth to connect – after usual suspects Adison Jones, Clayton Jefferson and Kelton Richmond – from long range, and the first to so do in the second quarter, Bo Ward’s three-pointer was likely the most definitive notice served to the enemy that Bobcat-ball was on a whole other level inside the DemonDome.

“Ah … I don’t know,” said the senior, downplaying the shot’s impact. “I was just standing in my position, just waiting for a pass, and I thought they were going to come out on me. But they never did and I figured I’d take the shot … made it! That felt good because it was my old team, you know?”

But if that wasn’t it, perhaps Richmond’s trey with 0:35 left in the first quarter – giving Ignacio a 17-13 lead when the frame was finished – was. And if not that, maybe Jones’ earlier three – putting IHS up 9-8 after 4A Durango responded from a 4-0 deficit – was.

“They were going to come out ready to go, and they did,” head coach Chris Valdez said of the Demons’ first-verse tempo. “We kind of got scatter-brained a little bit and had a few turnovers that … kind of got us in a hole. But they regrouped immediately, and we kind of went on a little run on ’em.”

And if neither of those bulls-eyes was indicative enough of the Class 2A team’s intentions last Saturday night, Richmond’s and Nick Herrera’s unexpected dunk-driven displays of deceptive hops in warm-ups during halftime of the preceding junior-varsity contest surely must have been.

Simply put, the warning signs were there … and Alan Batiste’s boys – senior Dane Mestas (21 points, 5-9 FT) and junior Nate Atencio (five) the exceptions – did comparatively little to defend their hostile house in a 64-42 loss, the varsities’ first meeting since the Bobcats’ near-upset in January 2007 of a Matt Morris-led DHS squad.

“I think we matched up better this time,” Valdez said. “This team plays so as a ‘team’ and so unselfish that we were able to definitely use that to our advantage. And the matchups were a lot more favorable than with a Morris [type], who we can’t match up with.”

“Durango’s a good team, they’ve got good quickness,” he conceded. “They didn’t play their best they can, didn’t shoot the best they can – they’re a better team than they showed, and we just got ’em on their heels and had something they really didn’t have an answer for. That’s kind of the way it worked out.”

Whatever that ‘something’ was, it was made manifest in the form of an 18-3 second quarter – starting with Ward’s triple, an ‘and-one’ Jefferson cleanup of a Wyatt Hayes miss, and a short Jones jumper followed by an emphatic defensive rejection of 6’4” junior Logan Geauthreaux, and ending with Hayes (6 points) pulling in a defensive rebound at the buzzer of Atencio’s attempted three.

Leading 35-16, Ignacio wasted no time going back to work beginning the third as Richmond (15 points) finished a strong baseline drive. A later such power move put the Bobcats ahead by 21 points, 45 to 24, and the quarter ended with IHS cruising, 50-26.

“I think Kelton drove baseline because they were in a 1-2-2 half-court … trap,” Valdez recalled. “Our individual talent in certain positions allowed us to attack the basket out of stuff like that. So we got more wide-open shots against their zone [defense] than we did against their ‘man.’”

“The last week of break we had a lot of practicing … two-a-days to get back in the motions of playing,” said Ward (9 points), a member of DHS’ golf team in the fall. “I enjoyed it. Like, it was my old basketball team – I played here for two years – and I was excited to come here … just wanted to beat ’em!”

Jefferson finished with 12 points, with Jones and Anthony Manzanares notching nine apiece as the Bobcats improved to 8-0 (1-0 2A/1A SJBL), and were soon rewarded with Colorado Preps’ #1 spot in its January 12th rankings, ahead of Sanford, Parker Lutheran, Yuma, Haxtun, Akron, Westcliffe Custer County, Rye, Loveland Resurrection Christian, and Peyton.

Durango dropped to 4-4 (0-0 4A/5A Southwestern), as starters Geauthreaux, Isiah Mayberry and Isiah Mayberry were held to a combined five points. 6’7” senior Trent Andrews was impressively blanked.

San Juan Basin League play resumes for IHS tomorrow night when Dove Creek visits, but then pauses briefly as the ’Cats then travel to 3A Pagosa Springs on the 21st for a rematch with the Pirates.



IGNACIO (17-18-15-14=64): W.Hayes 1 4-5 6, C.Jefferson 4 3-4 12, K.Richmond 7 0-0 15, T.Ward 0 2-2 2, A.Jones 4 0-3 9, B.Ward 4 0-0 9, J.Carver 0 0-3 0, S.Corrado 1 0-0 2, A.Manzanares 3 2-3 9, N.Herrera 0 0-0 0, J.House 0 0-0 0, X.Reynolds 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS: 24 11-20 64.  3-POINTERS: Jones, Richmond, Jefferson, B.Ward, Manzanares.

DURANGO (13-3-10-16=42): L.Baken 0 0-0 0, N.Atencio 2 1-4 5, D.Mestas 7 5-9 21, I.Mayberry 1 0-0 2, L.Geauthreaux 1 0-1 3, L.Mayberry 1 0-1 2, T.Trujillo 1 0-0 3, J.Hobson 1 0-0 2, C.Kennedy 2 0-0 4, T.Andrews 0 0-0 0, J.Kaplan 0 0-0 0, O.Clay 0 0-0 0, T.Bogus 0 0-0 0, G.Gilliland 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS: 16 6-15 42.  3-POINTERS: Mestas 2, Geauthreaux, Trujillo.

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