Lady Cats leave D-3 no doubt

Ignacio's Hilda Garcia gets lower than Ridgway's Jayden Reed and Hailey Emanuel in an attempt to gain possession during 2A-District 3 Tournament semifinals action inside Montezuma-Cortez High School.
Ignacio's Chrystianne Valdez (3) motors ahead during 2A-District 3 Tournament semifinals action against Ridgway inside Montezuma-Cortez High School. Getting points from all nine players on the roster, IHS destroyed the Lady Demons 78-10.
Ignacio's Alejandra Lujan (23) and Avionne Gomez (25) appear to really enjoy the task of bringing the ball into the frontcourt versus Ridgway in the 2A-District 3 Tournament semfinals. Held at Montezuma-Cortez High School, the Lady Bobcats had plenty reason to smile after destroying the Lady Demons 78-10.
Ignacio's Allisianna Baker (44) rejects the shot of Ridgway's Bianca Icke (21) back from whence it came during 2A-District 3 Tournament semifinals action at Montezuma-Cortez High School.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

No. 1 seed for regionals

Seemingly more content to bang and bruise up local nemesis Mancos the night before, the Dolores Lady Bears certainly weren’t looking forward – figuratively or literally – to squaring off against San Juan Basin League powerhouse Ignacio the next afternoon for the Class 2A-District 3 Tournament title.

To be fair, not many squads anywhere would have been after witnessing the Lady Bobcats ravage Ridgway by an incredible 68 points in the Feb. 26-27 event’s very first contest – which made IHS’ 35-point rout of DHS on Day 2 seem almost competitive by comparison.

But with the Lady Cats swiftly building up a double-digit advantage, like they’d done against RHS, in just one quarter of play inside Montezuma-Cortez High School and never really relaxing their full-court pace and pressure, there was no questioning Ignacio’s championship resolve.

Or that sophomore Avionne Gomez would likely have been the D-3 MVP. Certainly, every one of Shane Seibel’s players contributed greatly, but Gomez followed up her 18-point performance in IHS’ 78-10 thrashing of the Lady Demons with an incendiary 21 against Dolores – burying five three-pointers on top of four the afternoon before – to fuel a 63-28 triumph and power Ignacio into the 2A-Region I Tournament out in the San Luis Valley.

“All year we’ve been trying to make a hundred. That’s been our goal; I mean, who doesn’t want to make triple digits?” said senior guard Chrystianne Valdez, who scored two points against RHS and nine versus DHS.

“But we wanted to come out strong; we’ve been having a rocky start to most league games. We’ll finish strong at the end, which helps, but we wanted to … stay strong the whole time and I think we accomplished that.”

Catching fire even faster than her teammate on day one of districts, sophomore Hilda Garcia sank two treys and totaled ten of her 15 points against Ridgway in the first frame as IHS blasted out to a 17-2 lead. Senior forward/center Miriam Fernandez-Lopez canned a surprise triple late in the second, helping the Lady Cats inflate their pad to 36-5 at halftime, and finished with 13.

Senior forward Gibran Silva launched an unplanned three and watched – to the Lady Demons’ horror – it splash through the net just before the third quarter expired, widening the gap to a 60-6 chasm and putting Silva in position to finish the rampage with ten points.

“Our bench did their job … it was just well-rounded,” Valdez said. “Everyone played their game.”

Able to limit RHS to only three makes from the floor, Ignacio then allowed DHS just seven as from start to finish, offensively and defensively, the Lady Cats thoroughly “honored the game,” according to Seibel.

“And they never played down,” he stated.

IHS led the Lady Bears 16-6 after one quarter, 37-20 through two, and 50-26 at the end of the third as again, all nine in uniform scored at least one point. Senior Ellie Seibel booked eight along with senior Cortney Wilson-Baker, Fernandez-Lopez registered six and Garcia five.

Junior Madi Archuleta managed seven for Dolores, and senior Larissa Umberger and freshman Aryelle Wright each contributed six. Junior Emma Copp and sophomore Bianca Icke led Ridgway with three points apiece, and the Lady Demons (6-16) were then coldly eliminated by MHS, 42-41, in the D-3 third-place game.

Seeded No. 1 in Region I, IHS (now 17-4 overall) will first take on Westcliffe-based Custer County (8-12), fifth place in District 1 but the regional’s 8-seed, at noon Friday, March 4, out in Alamosa inside Adams State University’s Plachy Hall. The winner then faces either 4-seed Sargent (14-8) or No. 5 Dolores (now 12-8) on the 5th at 2 p.m. at the same site for the right to advance to the next weekend’s State Championships.

Fighting on the other side of the bracket for the other pass to Pueblo will be No. 2 Del Norte, No. 7 Center, No. 3 Sanford and No. 6 Mancos. DNHS (19-5; D-1 champions) and CHS (6-16) will go head-to-head at ASU on the 4th at 4 p.m. while SHS (14-8) and MHS (10-10) clash at Monte Vista High School, and the winners will meet inside Plachy at 10 a.m. on the 5th.

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