Lady ’Cats log four wins in one week

Ignacio’s Solymar Cosio looks to shoot over Telluride’s Lulu Pumayalli (42) during SJBL play Saturday, Feb. 20, inside IHS Gymnasium.
Ignacio’s Avaleena Nanaeto dribbles across the lane during non-league action versus Pagosa Springs Thursday, Feb. 18, inside IHS Gymnasium.
Ignacio’s Harmony Reynolds (34) knocks the ball free from the grip of Pagosa Springs’ Molly Graham (42) during non-league action Thursday, Feb. 18, inside IHS Gymnasium.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS primed for clash with Cedaredge

All but running on fumes by the time tipoff against Telluride came around Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20, the Ignacio Lady Bobcats – playing their fourth game in five days – still couldn’t just gear down and reduce speed to conserve fuel.

“Whether we’re tired or we’re at a hundred percent, we just don’t know how to stay still,” senior guard Charlize Valdez said, following a 62-15, never-in-doubt rout of the Lady Miners. “When we pulled back at halftime, they got a few quick shots off of us, so we were like, ‘No matter how tired we are, we have to be … in a press, be up quick because we can’t stop moving!”

“Last night I was pretty tired,” admitted senior guard Jayden Brunson, alluding to her status following IHS’ 49-36 home win over non-league 2A Sargent, which itself came on the heels of IHS’ 2/18 overtime win over 3A Pagosa Springs. “It’s hard playing with only five (regulars), but we knew this was the last game of the week, we knew what we needed to get done, so we just came out and played like we know how.”

Brunson’s first three-pointer of the game and one from Valdez helped Ignacio (7-1, 4-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin) race out to a 15-0 lead before THS junior Lila Renke netted a two-pointer with 2:28 still left in the opening eight-minute quarter. With plenty of time in which to inflict more damage, the Lady ’Cats – ranked No. 13 in the week-starting CHSAANow.com Class 2A girls’ poll – went on a fresh 10-0 spree, capped by Brunson’s second trey, and entered the second stanza ahead 25-2.

“I was happy to see her hitting some threes today, for sure,” said head coach Justa Whitt. “She’s kind of struggled the last couple days getting her shot off, so that was good to see her strong again.”

Helped by six combined points from young reserves Harmony Reynolds, Solymar Cosio and Maci Barnes, the Lady ’Cats dashed into halftime in complete control, 37-5 – as opposed to their shaky 21-20 advantage at the same juncture over SHS, Ignacio’s opponent in last season’s 2A-Region VIII semifinals held on the same IHS Gymnasium court.

“We were all tired, especially against Sargent,” Valdez said. “We had a rough beginning … and we really had to overcome all that. Each game we’re coming together more, getting more in shape, figuring out our dynamic everywhere.”

During the third quarter Renke managed four of her eventual team-high eight points, but IHS countered with junior Avaleena Nanaeto recording seven and Brunson five, to breeze into the fourth up 52-11.

“Our goal was to come out and finish strong, even though we knew it was going to be a fairly-easy game,” said Whitt. “But … we needed a fairly-easy game after the last two nights – the girls were pretty tired (against Sargent) and barely made it through. But I think they got some good rest, then came out refreshed and ready to go.”

“In Mancos … I think everyone was a little timid at the beginning, but once we got going we got right into it and did what we had to do,” Brunson (20 points versus Telluride, 12 vs. Sargent) said, referring to Ignacio’s 48-25 win Tues., Feb. 16, at Mancos. “But Pagosa was the big one for us; we were down at the half, trailed the whole time and we fought our way back.”

Including six of IHS’ eight points in OT, Brunson racked up a game-high 14 against PSHS while Valdez scored 13 points in a 43-37 win; senior guard Adelyn Dozier and junior guard Kiera Torrez paced the potent Lady Pirates with ten apiece.

“Your endurance has to be way up to be able to keep playing the whole time,” Brunson continued. “But we all pushed through and … that showed us no matter who we play this season we can win any game if we really want it.”

Nanaeto finished with 13 points against the Lady Miners (1-6, 0-3 SJBL), while Valdez backed up her game-high 16 against the Lady Farmers with 11 against THS. Senior center Shelcie Gosney totaled 13 points in the two victories.

Senior Melena Krownapple booked four points for Telluride in defeat, while junior Mary Willis posted a SHS-best 12.

“After the Mancos game … . We knew what was ahead of us,” said Valdez. “Pagosa … they were such good competition. Sargent also – we could recognize some of them, but we were like, ‘Where did we play them? It’s been so long!’ – but now we’re excited … for what’s ahead.”

Most immediate will be a showdown versus non-league Cedaredge on Friday, Feb. 26. Ranked fifth in the updated CHSAANow.com poll, released Mon., Feb. 22, the Lady Bruins (9-1 overall as of 2/22) will meet the Lady ’Cats – bumped up to No. 11 – a day after hosting Western Slope League rival Paonia, which had stunned CHS 29-27 back on Feb. 13.

Getting CHS-at-IHS underway, the junior varsities will square off at 4 p.m., with the main event slated for 6.

“That’s going to be a big one for us – just keeping our heads in the game, executing our offense, making sure our defense is where it needs to be,” Brunson said. “The rest of the season, we’ve just got to keep pushing it if we want to get where we need to be when it comes time for [State] tournament play.”

Results from IHS’ scheduled 2/23 trip to Dolores were unavailable at press time.

CHSAANOW.COM CLASS 2A GIRLS’ BASKETBALL POLL (2/22)

  1. Sanford
  2. Holyoke
  3. Rye
  4. Rocky Ford
  5. Cedaredge
  6. Fort Collins Heritage Christian
  7. Paonia
  8. Sedgwick County (Julesburg/Ovid Revere)
  9. Wray
  10. Limon
  11. IGNACIO
  12. Oak Creek Soroco,
  13. Aurora Lotus School for Excellence
  14. Burlington
  15. Del Norte

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