Ten threes fall for IHS in 74-37 triumph
Jimmy Saville got his team on the board with a three-pointer.
And the Ignacio Bobcats immediately – as in back-to-back-to-back treys by junior Kruz Pardo, blowing open a 17-3 advantage – reacted as though he’d committed copyright infringement most foul.
Which wasn’t really a bad thing; friend and foe filling inside Ridgway High School Gymnasium Friday night, Jan. 27, all got to see IHS’ expected explosiveness in a 74-37 domination of the re-developing Demons, whose experience was greatly depleted by graduation after last season.
Pardo finished with four triples and 14 of his 18 points during the first half – after which the visitors led 39-14 – and sophomore Lawrence Valdez caught fire starting the second with two threes and ten of his game-high 22. He’d knock down two more from long range in the fourth quarter, which began with IHS cruising 60-23, as the Cats (7-3, 5-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) canned ten all told.
“Our coach just put it on us. He was like, ‘If you’re going to take the shot, make sure it’s the right shot,’” said Valdez. “And he was like, ‘If it’s not there, attack the basket – create for the others!’ And that’s what we did; it came out well.”
“When somebody gets hot we’ve just got to try and get him the ball!” head coach Chris Valdez said. “And we saw that with Valdez and with Pardo in the first half. Defensively, we got a lot more aggressive in the second half but we also got a lot more lackadaisical with the ball – we ended up, still, with close to 20 turnovers against a team that is not of high caliber.”
“We’re pressing, we’re trapping, and we’re trying to get into transition … get easy layups,” he continued. “And we’re making some bad passes in transition where we could be getting easy layups if we’d just attack the basket instead of trying to make real tough passes.”
Ten of the eleven Bobcats who saw court time each scored at least two points in the road rout, as opposed to only six of former Demon Jake Coulter’s youth-heavy squad.
Junior regulars Cole McCaw and Johnny Valdez – who punctuated the first quarter with a breakaway layup, expanding the guests’ lead to 19-3 after eight minutes – each registered six points. Sophomore Calvin Levato again shone off the bench with five, including an acrobatic, twisting catch and conversion of a Pardo lob, which Pardo admitted afterwards, was anything but awesome.
Junior Kai Roubideaux contributed four points, as did Ocean Hunter and Juanito Medina off the bench. Enjoying a quiet night, senior Joaquin King finished with three points in his usual beyond-the-arc style, and sophomore Clay Seibel cleaned up a fourth-quarter miss for his two.
“Everyone’s coming together,” Lawrence Valdez said. “And everyone can come off the bench and play; it’s not like we’re losing something if someone comes out. We’re always energized and ready to go.”
Able to capitalize upon Ignacio’s work-in-progress zone defense after the first frame, Saville finished with an impressive four treys, went six-of-six from the foul line, and totaled 22 points for Ridgway (0-10, 0-5). Reserves Ty Kraft and Byrd Williams each chipped in four, while starters Colin Kraft and Blake Rutherford booked three and two, respectively.
RHS finished 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, and IHS was 4-4 in a contest with just 16 total fouls called. A humorous twelve went against the Bobcats.
“There’s a lot to work on here,” said Chris Valdez. “Obviously we got the win and that’s most important, but our message to them is we’ve got to cut the turnovers down, we’ve got to get better at valuing possession.”
“We had a hard practice yesterday – it didn’t matter we had a game today – and we’re going to have a hard practice Monday because we have the Mancos game [Tuesday, Jan. 31],” he added, looking into the near future.
“We’ll have a hard practice Wednesday because we’ve got the Dolores game [Thursday, Feb. 2], and we’ll have a hard practice Friday because we’ve got the Norwood game [Saturday, 2/4]! We cannot take a day off; we have got to get … in better shape and we’ve got to be able to…just play through everything!”
Results from the aforementioned away dates were unavailable at press time.
FINALLY GOT ONE
Still winless in 2016-17 after the loss to IHS, the Demons gained their first victory the following day at SJBL 1A side Dove Creek, 51-39. Blanked by the Bobcats, sophomore post Jon Bustos led Ridgway with 13 points and Saville logged 12.