Fri Feb 17th, 2017
Tags: 2A/1A San Juan Basin League, Ara Norwood, Ashley Medina, Avionne Gomez, Bella Pena, Elizabeth Valdez, Emma Copp, harmaine Price, Heile Pearson, Jade Richards, lady bobcats, Makayla Howell, Rachel Cooper, Telluride
Lady Cats improve to 11-5 overall
Able to weather visiting Ridgway’s 9-0 run during the last 3:18 of the second quarter and opening seconds of the third, bringing the Lady Demons as close as 24-18, Ignacio rebuilt its lead to 33-21 going into the fourth and pulled away to a 53-33 win Feb. 11 inside SunUte Community Center.
“We were all off a little. We weren’t really clicking,” senior Alejandra Lujan noted, alluding to fatigue initially lingering from the previous evening’s 47-23 win over Telluride inside IHS Gymnasium. “And we just started playing; we kept going and going, didn’t give up, and that’s just all we needed – all our team playing together. Then we were good.”
With freshman posts Larissa Gallegos (five points) and Morgan Herrera (four) combining for nine of the Lady Bobcats’ 12 first-quarter points, IHS led by seven after eight regulation minutes as only senior standout Ara Norwood, booking four points of RHS’ five, seemed relatively fresh after her team’s 64-35 rout of Dolores at home Friday evening, Feb. 10, then early Saturday morning departure for the Pine River Valley.
Stemming from effective full-court pressure, a Herrera steal and layup forced Ridgway head coach Nate Firkins into a timeout with his crew down 18-5 with 6:10 left in the first half. But things would get worse before appearing to improve; Lujan somehow blindly banked in a four-foot, two-handed toss over her head to increase the locals’ lead to 24-9 before Norwood registered the half’s last seven points.
“Well I knew Morgan was there for the rebound if I missed,” Lujan laughed afterwards.
“The vibes were kind of weird,” agreed grinning freshman Makayla Howell, “but we still came out and showed our all as a team. It’s not a one-person show; it’s everyone, and that’s what we’ve been playing like lately.”
“Their defense was really great; they were wanting it more than we were,” she continued, discussing the Lady Demons’ comeback bid, “and we had to pick it up. Defense wins games.”
For the Lady Cats (11-5, 10-1 2A/1A San Juan Basin League), however, that ‘defense’ looked more like an aggressive offense; Ridgway (6-10, 6-5) committed seven fouls during the third quarter alone, with the last being senior Emma Copp’s fourth – yielding two (fortunately) missed Herrera free throws.
RHS sophomore Caitlin Sanchez then fouled out eight seconds into the final frame, and as Ignacio junior Avionne Gomez helped seal the deal with six fourth-quarter points – giving her a team-best 11 – Copp would foul out with 3:23 remaining.
Lujan’s cleanup of a Gomez miss put IHS up by 20, 47-27, for the first time in the game, and Shane Seibel’s reserves would effectively polish off the invaders. Senior Jade Richards scored three points, senior Rachel Cooper two and sophomore Heile Pearson one while sharing minutes with senior Sharmaine Price, freshman Bella Pena and freshman Elizabeth Valdez.
“It feels really good to be this high again. Especially since we lost all our seniors last year, it’s really good to be back up here,” said Lujan (ten points), of Ignacio’s present SJBL eminence. “What we need to keep doing is just keep taking it to them, playing harder together, and just raising our expectations for everybody and playing to that level.”
Herrera finished with ten points, Howell nine and Gallegos seven in the victory. Norwood led all players with her 16, Copp booked six, and freshman Ashley Medina eight (six in the fourth) in defeat. The Lady ’Cats finished 16-of-29 from the charity stripe while the Lady Demons were just 3-of-7.
Up next, IHS travels to Ouray on Saturday, Feb. 18. Results from the team’s 2/16 visit from Mancos and Valentine’s Day trip to Pagosa Springs (then 14-3, 8-2 3A Intermountain) were unavailable at press time.
“We just kind of slowed down, thinking that we were ahead we could just take our time,” Lujan said, again lamenting RHS’ ability to rally. “We’ve got to figure out how to keep going … and don’t stop.”