Guests putting Cats to the test

Ignacio's Johnny Valdez turns the corner against Bayfield's Zane Phelps during Jan. 26 action inside IHS Gymnasium.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Bayfield steals win, Bears seek repeat

 

When word of hot-or-cold Bayfield’s unexpected overtime escape from IHS Gymnasium on Jan. 26 reached hard-luck Dolores, it couldn’t have occurred at a finer time with the Bears set to enter the Bobcats’ den three nights later, hoping to catch the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League’s best in a vulnerable state.

Trailing Ignacio by only eight points, 29-21, after two quarters’ work certainly would have indicated Colorado’s fourth-ranked [CHSAANow.com poll, issued 1/25] 2A crew still wasn’t operating as fluidly as expected, but to DHS’ credit … they made sure to be the surprise-capable Bears IHS expected.

And the possibility of dropping a second straight stunner never entered the Bobcats’ thinking.

Getting nine points from senior Anthony Manzanares during the third quarter and four from senior Nick Herrera, Ignacio built their lead up to a comfortable 46-27 beginning the tell-all eight minutes – in which Dolores scored nothing. Zero points, against IHS’ clinching 18 (including six by senior Austin McCaw, four from freshman Lawrence Valdez and a three-pointer from sophomore Kai Roubideaux).

Ten of Chris Valdez’s eleven ’Cats scored at least a point in the 64-27 victory, a welcome recovery from BHS’ 56-55 upset inside the packed house in which the bench wasn’t as productive. Herrera roughed up DHS for a game-best 17 points, eleven keeping Ignacio (10-2, 5-0 SJBL) afloat during the tense first half. Senior Wyatt Hayes, who’d put up a team-high 23 in the OT affair, scored his eight also before intermission.

Classmate Tucker Ward got the Bears for seven, Roubideaux totaled five, senior Chase Sanchez and junior Joaquin King each booked three and sophomore Kruz Pardo two.

Senior guard Jalen Balderrama’s 13 paced Dolores (3-11, 1-7 but actually 2-9 overall versus the loop). Senior forward Ben Lykins had eight, and classmates Josh McCoy, Kyle Biery and Branden Donaldson each two.

The Cats were to host Mancos (5-8, 3-3…but 4-4 in reality) next on Tuesday, Feb. 2, but results were unavailable by the Drum’s deadline. Further down the schedule, IHS welcomes Ridgway on Friday, Feb. 5, for a meeting postponed almost a calendar month, then entertains Ouray the next night.

The Trojans will come to town having dipped to fifth in the most recent (issued Monday, Feb. 1) CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll, with Ignacio also bumped down a spot to No. 5 in the revised 2A hierarchy.

 

THE TOP TEN, STARTING FEBRUARY

1. Sanford, 2. Loveland Resurrection Christian, 3. Julesburg/Ovid Revere Sedgwick County, 4. Paonia, 5. IGNACIO, 6. Rye, 7. Ordway Crowley County, 8. Holyoke, 9. Ault Highland, 10. Center.

(Receiving Votes—Ellicott, Haxtun, Greeley Dayspring Christian, Oak Creek Soroco, Burlington.)

 

AGAINST BAYFIELD

Unluckily unable to seal the deal against the Wolverines, then a ‘Receiving Votes’ team in the Jan. 25 Class 3A rankings, after holding a 13-point lead through three completed quarters, IHS got 13 points from Ward and eight from Manzanares.

Hayes had sank three treys and totaled 15 points before the fourth commenced, but Herrera had been limited to just three and McCaw none, and IHS’ only bench points were three from Pardo and Johnny Valdez’s bank-shot triple late in the second quarter (after which the contest was tied at 23-23).

 

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