Fri Feb 16th, 2018
Special to the Drum
Three tests still await ’Cats before postseason
Sometimes it’s easier to get back up on one’s feet than stand upon them for prolonged periods of time; and with the regular season winding down, that’s what the Ignacio boys will look to do in order to build momentum for the 2A-District 3 Tournament, Feb. 23-24 at Montezuma-Cortez H.S. Which, being closer to IHS Gymnasium, will seem like home compared to two tricky away destinations visited Feb. 9-10.
Able to trip Telluride 59-51 after the Friday night fray inside the MinerDome, the Bobcats were unable to keep a clean sheet in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League and dropped a disappointing Saturday session – ending an eight-game winning streak – at Ridgway by a 42-41 verdict.
To be fair, the Demons weren’t the same Demons that lost by 36 points back on Jan. 12. Finally starting to jell under former RHS standout Jake Coulter, Ridgway went into the game having won five of their last six with four of those earned outside Ouray County, and their only loss during that stretch coming by just ten points at Mancos a week before the ’Cats – then ranked #8 in the CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll – came a-calling.
Senior Jimmy Saville and sophomore Kaden Forrest – who did not play in the teams’ previous meeting – each scored 12 points (and each grabbed nine rebounds) and senior Colin Kraft added ten as the Demons built up a 30-23 halftime lead before Ignacio won the fourth quarter by an 11-3 margin to nearly swipe victory from defeat.
Dinged to 9-1 in SJBL action by the rare loop loss, head coach Chris Valdez knew that both games could be difficult if regulars Kai Roubideaux and Lawrence Valdez were still unavailable, though the squad had proven capable – getting senior guard Kruz Pardo back definitely helped – of playing well in their absence by downing 4A Durango (56-51, inside Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium) less than four days before.
“Some of the newer guys that haven’t had a lot of time … I thought they played hard, and that’s important to me,” Valdez said. “We can play harder, more aggressive – not worried about getting people tired, because we don’t want to go to our bench.”
“It’s going to be a tough road in there, trying to defend them and secure rebounds,” he’d predicted – correctly, as things turned out – following IHS’ 79-31 home win over Norwood a week prior to venturing to THS (where Miner senior Reed Schacht pumped in 17 problematic points) and the Demons’ lair. “We’re focusing on … crashing the boards, every position.”
Bobcat statistics from the road trip had not been totaled as of press time, at which moment the ’Cats still stood 12-4 overall. Up next for Ignacio will be a Snowcoming Week-ending visit on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 1A Ouray with tipoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Having had a week to prepare, the Trojans will arrive standing 6-4 in the SJBL and 9-9 overall after a neutral-site [Gunnison] 69-52 loss to non-league Creede, at the time #4 in Class 1A.
Results from IHS’ 2/15 trip to Mancos – with the Blue Jays, winners of six straight, standing 13-4 overall and 9-3 in league at the time – were unavailable at press time. The boys will then wrap up the regular season hosting 1A Monticello, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
CHSAAnow.com Class 2A Boys’ Basketball Poll