Thu Dec 8th, 2016
Special to the Drum
Tags: 2A/1A San Juan Basin League, Bobcats, chris valdez, Cole McCaw, Daniel Weaver, Elco Garcia, ignacio high school, Joaquin King, Johnny Valdez, Kai Roubideaux, Kruz Pardo, Marcus Chapman, Montezuma-Cortez Panther Invitational
All eight score, four reach double figures
Undoubtedly stoked that the visitors had lost as much, and probably far more talent due to graduation than had they, the Bulldogs quickly found themselves about as far from ‘stoked’ as possible; during the 2016-17 season-opener, the Bobcats of now still played like the Bobcats of then.
Traveling out to Dolores County to get underway Thursday, Dec. 1, Ignacio held Dove Creek scoreless for the first 5:05 while putting up ten points. And not long after DCHS guard Ryan Delano-Martinez finally got the locals on the scoreboard, IHS junior guard Cole McCaw canned the Bobcats’ first three-pointer of the winter to increase the guests’ lead to 15-2.
Junior guard Johnny Valdez followed shortly after with his first trey, upping IHS’ advantage to an overwhelming 20-2 at the expiration of eight regulation minutes, and Ignacio would never face anything resembling a threat in devastating the Dogs, 76-16.
“You know, for our first game it couldn’t be better,” said head coach Chris Valdez, who unveiled an initial starting five of McCaw, Valdez, junior Kruz Pardo, senior Joaquin King and junior Kai Roubideaux –essentially four guards and a post.
“We’re not playing a real talented team – they lost some kids last year – but we lost our whole starting lineup,” he continued. “So in their first varsity test as varsity starters – nobody on that team has ever started … maybe Kruz, one game – to see them come out from the beginning, and do what they had to do to attack the basket, to create shots for their teammates … I mean, almost eighty percent of our shots were off an assist! That’s what’s impressive when you add all that up; it shows team play.”
“He just said ‘Keep playing hard ’til the last second,’” said Roubideaux, whose 16 points trailed only Valdez’s 17 for the team high. “You know, when we have teams that are harder and much more aggressive, we have to be able to fight down the stretch and be able to come through.”
McCaw (12) and Pardo (11) also contributed double-digit scoring, as all eight Bobcats who suited up for the varsity scored at least four points. Junior Daniel Weaver led IHS’ reserves with eight, while junior Marcus Chapman and freshman Elco Garcia, Jr., equaled King’s four.
And though Chapman fouled out with 0:38 left in the third quarter – after which Ignacio led 54-6 (the junior varsity had been in control through three by a similar 58-4 margin, en route to winning 73-8) – it didn’t deter the Cats from pursuing the ball, running in the open court, and regularly backdoor-cutting to the hoop.
“It was all about transition,” Roubideaux said. “We’ve got to get down the floor, get down the floor … got to pass, got to pass. And we’ve got to make easy buckets off the transitions; the ball game’s right there.”
“We don’t want to give up defensively and in years past, we have. When we got big leads we just kind of let the other team score on us, got lazy, and these guys value the defense now,” said Chris Valdez. “That was the biggest problem – I thought – with this team, the defense, and they showed me a little bit more than I was expecting. I’m just happy that they got a win early.”
Sinking two fourth-quarter threes, Delano-Martinez finished with ten points for Dove Creek (0-1, 0-1 2A/1A San Juan Basin League). Senior Cody Kennedy managed four, but classmate Scott Gatlin finished with zero.
“I think our chemistry is getting a lot better; we’re all starting to click …glue together,” said Roubideaux.
After a long time spent refining that blend, the Bobcats (1-0, 1-0) will next see action on the December 13 at home versus Dolores, then compete Dec. 16-17 at the Montezuma-Cortez Panther Invitational.
ON TWO GOOD WHEELS
On the receiving end of several quick looks to the baseline, resulting in easy lay-ins, Roubideaux’s play in the paint was definitely one of the brightest positives gleaned from the visit to DCHS.
“Kai, you know…. Freshman year, torn ACL. Sophomore year, a broken foot – right after his ACL healed. He got a few games in last year, but never really got any major time,” recalled Valdez.
“So for him to come out and play good – he’s worked his butt off, gotten in shape … It’s just we’re not deep. We’re missing six varsity players that could really be out here – we added a couple younger guys to our mix to play this game – but if they don’t come back or come in later, we’re going to make it work until that happens.”
“I’m starting to trust my body,” said Roubideaux. “Wasn’t holding back – just trust my body and attack!”