Thu Dec 20th, 2018
Special to the Drum
Twelve points ended up being the Dec. 15 game’s final margin.
Twelve points, ten of which resulted from full-court, pressure-forced turnovers, was how many visiting Cedaredge scored unanswered beginning the fourth quarter, helping inflate a slim 39-36 lead all the way up to 58-40 before coasting the final 2:12 to a 58-46 road win.
“You know, we’ve got to take care of the ball. It’s real simple: You ball-fake before you pass. It’s that simple to get the ball inbounds, and pass it across the floor, whatever,” said Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez. “Kids … get impatient – and they’re young, I understand that – but it’s something we demand…talk about every day in practice when we do any drill, and yet we turn the basketball over … which is the biggest no-no.”
Behind standouts Jared Reynolds outside and Conner Brooks inside, the Bruins began the interleague action on a 10-4 run before the Bobcats battled back to go up 11-10 with 2:15 left in the first frame via two Brady McCaw three-pointers.
A late Brooks putback gave him six points in the opening quarter, matching Reynolds, and swiped CHS a shaky 14-13 lead going into the second. But IHS, not even 48 full hours removed from a 79-39 loss – likely the program’s worst in a decade – on the same floor to 4A Kirtland, N.M., Central, quickly rallied to tie at 17-all with 5:04 left before halftime when Keegan Schurman zipped a pass ahead to a streaking Randall Doyebi in transition.
En route to scoring his jersey number (24), Reynolds sank a clutch three-pointer but saw it offset when Ignacio’s Gabe Tucson drained one himself in the closing moments to put the ’Cats up 26-24 through two.
“The ‘35’ kid … was physical, could attack the basket at times, and when we had the wrong matchups he showed us what he could do,” Valdez said, referring to Brooks. “But we tried to hold him in the first half to shooting the ball, and that worked perfectly because he couldn’t hit anything.”
“We put Brady on Number 24 because he’s their best player and we needed someone who was physical enough to guard him,” continued Valdez, alluding to the fact McCaw would finish with four fouls. “He didn’t hurt us a ton going to the basket – when we got some switches in different areas, yeah he did get his share of points.”
Bruin Peter Sandels started the third tying the score with a jumper and Cedaredge (3-2, 0-0 3A Western Slope) would gradually rebuild themselves a 35-28 lead, only to lose most of it as Bobcats Triston Thompson and Bryce Finn – who’d cashed four treys and booked a team-best 23 points against KCHS – each swished a triple.
Reynolds managed seven points in the quarter and Sandels four, but Brooks went wanting as Ignacio (1-4, 0-1 2A/1A San Juan Basin) looked to have legs enough for one last authoritative burst.
“We could have pressed them the whole game,” stated Valdez. “We’d have run out of gas after the first quarter, but they weren’t really great ball-handlers. With five or six guys that can play at this level – we could have put some other kids in but they’d never have been able to stop them – right now, we could have pressed and we would have ran out of gas … that’s the only problem.”
Brooks began the fourth quarter with a layup, then after forcing a turnover at the defensive end, Reynolds and Alex Barron each scored layups off of steals, putting CHS up 45-36 only 48 seconds in. Brooks then added two more points after another Bruin takeaway, and by the time Thompson (13 points) made a layup in traffic, Cedaredge was too far gone to be caught.
Finn again hit double figures with his 12 points, while Doyebi and McCaw each finished with six. Tucson managed five points and Dylan Labarthe four. Brooks finished with ten points for CHS, while Sandels totaled eight and Colby Rupp seven – including a three-pointer registering the guests’ final digits.
“Our biggest problem now, obviously, besides turnovers – is rebounding. We’ve got a short team; our rebounder, Ocean (Hunter), is still out, but we’ve got to put a body on someone. That’s how you rebound … and that’s something young players have to learn.”
“We’ve got a long way to go before we make this a great team, but I think we can be a competitive team,” he noted. “And it has to do with taking care of the ball, breaking the press and other stuff like that.”
The ’Cats were to next host Dove Creek Tuesday night, Dec. 18, but results were unavailable at press time.