Fri Feb 19th, 2016
Special to the Drum
Garcia goes off on Nucla for 28
Clipboards clattering upon Ridgway Gymnasium’s court revealed the bosses weren’t happy.
And with 6:59 left in the first half of their Feb. 12 contest the Lady Bobcats didn’t even have to seek out Shane Seibel in the huddle for an explanation; they already knew what was going to be ordered.
“We needed to play together, and that whatever was going on between us needed to stop,” junior forward Alejandra Lujan recalled afterwards. “We needed to keep our heads up and try to get back into the game.”
Fortunately, they did get back in it.
And after allowing RHS sophomore Alize McCarty an easy basket – the cause for Seibel’s exasperated timeout – tying the teams’ Feb. 12 meeting at only 6-6 (Ignacio had led 6-4 after one quarter), Class 2A’s ninth-ranked crew began playing like the ninth-ranked crew.
A 10-0 run, capped by an unexpected Lujan three-pointer, gave IHS a lead large enough to withstand one last Lady Demon run – RHS rallied back to 18-12, before falling behind 24-13 at halftime – and ultimately build momentum towards a resounding 54-19 road victory.
“That was amazing,” Lujan said of her shot. “I was like, ‘How did I make that?’ It was awesome.”
As if only allowing Ridgway one field goal during the third and fourth quarters combined wasn’t additionally ‘awesome’ enough, that element would only increase after the Lady Cats returned home and hammered a credible Nucla squad 69-40 to improve to 14-3 overall, 10-0 in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League.
One of the reasons was the return of guard/forward Hilda Garcia. After missing the previous weekend’s home wins over RHS and Ouray, the sophomore stormed back into operation with 14 points in the 35-point rout of Ridgway and doubled that to a sizzling 28 in the 29-point trouncing of NHS.
“We’re going to come back even stronger. And we’re going to play better together, especially after tonight,” Lujan had predicted – correctly, in hindsight – before departing Ouray County. She’d totaled 14 points versus the Lady Demons, with senior forward Ellie Seibel also equaling Garcia’s scoring output.
And just like at RHS, Ignacio effectively put the Lady Mustangs out of business with a 24-4 third-quarter explosion, increasing a 30-18 advantage to an insurmountable 54-22 with only eight regulation minutes remaining.
Sophomore guard Avionne Gomez, who booked six points at Ridgway, finished with 15 on home flooring against Nucla. Seibel had six points and seven rebounds, and senior guard Chrystianne Valdez – scoreless the evening before – netted eight points and had a reported six steals. Garcia spread around eight assists as well.
Senior Brynne Skalla led Ridgway (5-12 overall after the next day’s loss at Dolores) with eight points, and McCarty finished with five. Statistics for Nucla (12-5) were still unreported as of the Drum’s deadline.
Up next, the Lady Cats will wrap up the regular season at home, Feb. 20 versus Telluride. Results from the previous night’s trip to Norwood – ranked #9 in the CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll (like the 2A poll, released 2/8) – with the SJBL’s overall title at stake were unavailable at press time.
The Lady Mavericks were 16-1, 9-0 prior to visiting Ouray on Tuesday, Feb. 16, having scored 235 points in their four previous outings (versus Mancos, RHS, Dove Creek, and at THS) while allowing only 49.