Fri Jan 31st, 2020
Special to the Drum
Tags: 2A/1A San Juan Basin League, Bella Pena, Charlize Valdez, Ebonee Gomez, Elizabeth Valdez, Ignacio’s girls basketball, Jayden Brunson, justa whitt, lady bobcats, Lady Demons, Lady Miners, Lady Mustangs, Makayla Howell, Monika Lucero
IHS rocks Ridgway, traumatizes Telluride
Denied a game three days before when injury-plagued 2A/1A San Juan Basin League foe Mancos, elected to forfeit due to health concerns, Ignacio’s girls then began preparations for Ridgway’s Jan. 24 visit.
But with IHS’ auxiliary gymnasium unexpectedly flooding, the Lady Bobcats took the main gym’s court against the Lady Demons having had no practice at all the evening before, and just a Wednesday morning conditioning/shoot-around session as a foundation for their performance.
Fortunately, that proved to be enough.
Despite RHS’ gutsy first-quarter effort to stay within six points (14-8) through eight minutes, a Charlize Valdez-led 16-1 second-stanza explosion gave IHS – which kept the visitors scoreless for the first 6:20 of that quarter – all the energy the squad needed to coast to a 49-20 victory.
“Sometimes my running just kicks in and I’ve got to go!” said the cross-country/track veteran Valdez, after logging a game-high 13 points as one of ten different Lady ’Cats scoring in the rout.
“We were definitely ready to go out today … excited to play,” she continued, alluding to the unplanned, undisputed win over MHS. “It is a little bummer that we don’t have that ‘competition’ in our league, but we go out and play our hardest every single time.”
“We certainly did come out, just … flat,” admitted head coach Justa Whitt. “And that’s not normal, to at least have a run-through the day before and get some shots up, you know? We never did get to go over stuff that I wanted to go over, so I think that probably affected us.”
Before appearing to re-injure a left knee with only 0:08.2 remaining in the contest, senior post Anza Connaughton managed to book a RHS-best nine points. Senior Ashley Medina chipped in five for fiery skipper Nate Firkins, and freshman Kaitlyn Winkelmann contributed three.
Senior Makayla Howell joined Valdez in double figures with her 11 points. Junior regular Ebonee Gomez scored six points and sophomore Monika Lucero came off the bench to score five – helping IHS’ reserves, including junior Jayden Brunson (4 points) and seniors Bella Pena (2) and Elizabeth Valdez (2), outscore Ridgway’s 14 to 2.
“We just have to try to keep improving on something as we move through these games,” Whitt said. “Today wasn’t the best show of that, but we’ll look for tomorrow to make it better.”
And as it came to pass the following afternoon, the Lady ’Cats appeared back within operational specifications and remained unbeaten against all SJBL opposition by destroying Telluride 77-9.
Blasting out to a reported 19-0 lead during the first quarter, Ignacio (7-5, 6-0 SJBL) inflated that advantage to 21-2 at quarter’s end, 40-6 at halftime, and owned the Lady Miners (4-6, 3-1) 58-6 prior to the mercy rule-quickened fourth.
Individual point totals had yet to be finalized and reported by the Drum’s deadline, Monday afternoon, Jan. 27, with THS set to visit RHS (4-5, 4-2 SJBL after Mancos forfeited the sides’ 1/25 meeting) the next evening.
“We have several different plays that we’re trying to run, and we just need to make that really sharp. And working on our press defense; we’ve still got to make that get better too,” said Whitt. “We know it’s going to be a struggle … playing like we’re playing a Del Norte or an Alamosa, when we’re playing these kinds of teams.”
Another of ‘those’ likely awaits IHS Saturday morning, Feb. 1, as Nucla visits town after traveling to Dolores – with a roster bolstered by an influx of disbanded local rival Norwood’s players, the Lady Mustangs entered that contest standing 3-10 overall, 2-3 SJBL – the preceding evening. Action is set to begin at 11 a.m.
“I think we just want to go out and execute everything perfectly,” said Valdez. “Perfect everything and get ready for the end of the [regular] season.”