Fri Mar 12th, 2021
Special to the Drum
Tags: Avaleena Nanaeto, Bobcats Girls Basketball, Charlize Valdez, Class 2A State Tournament, Class 2A State Tournament Bracket, Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), Dove Creek, Grace Hatfield, Harmony Reynolds, IHS, Jayden Brunson, justa whitt, Kalie Gatlin, Kobie Beanland, Kyra Levan, lady bobcats, Lady Miners, Mancos, Margaux Lovely, Melena Krownapple, Morgan Watkinson, Senior Night, Shelcie Gosney, Telluride
Ignacio hoping for home State game
Hoping to snap out of a rare funk, laughter may have been the Lady Bobcats’ best medicine.
And Saturday afternoon, March 6, freshman Maci Barnes generated a much-needed dose.
Enthusiastic as could be over receiving more varsity minutes coming off the bench, but even more so about intercepting an opposing pass in the paint, her humorous wrong-way basket (after she’d already netted one in IHS’ favor) during Ignacio’s final regular-season quarter ensured the team would begin the wait for Class 2A State Tournament bracket placement with smiles on their faces.
“This was the sort of game the girls needed,” head coach Justa Whitt said, following a 56-18 rout of Telluride coming on the heels of a home loss to non-league Cedaredge (49-43), then 2A/1A San Juan Basin League losses to Mancos (38-32) – on Senior Night, no less – and at Dove Creek (51-48). “They needed to have a little fun.”
“We’re trying not to hang our heads,” said senior Charlize Valdez after scoring a team-high 17 points at DCHS. “I mean, no one likes to lose; it’s a tough thing … coming off a winning streak and then you go on a losing streak. We’ve just got to regroup and get ready for Saturday.”
Having hung tough with the unbeaten Lady Bulldogs until the final 9.2 seconds, when sophomore Laci Brunson fouled out – allowing DC senior star Grace Hatfield (19 points) to sink a clinching free throw – it didn’t take Ignacio long to fire up inside THS’ MinerDome.
Getting nine first-quarter points from senior Jayden Brunson (held by Dove Creek to seven before fouling out with 1:25 left in regulation) and six from junior Avaleena Nanaeto, the Lady ’Cats (9-4, 6-2 SJBL, 5-1 2A SJBL) went into the second stanza up 15-2 and eventually into halftime ahead 35-6 after the younger Brunson went off for 10 points in the quarter.
She would total 13 points, trailing only sister Jayden’s 18 for the game high. Valdez scored eight, while Nanaeto was more or less content with her half-dozen as nine individuals chipped in at least two points (including Barnes, with three) apiece.
One of five active and six total seniors playing their final game in Telluride togs, center Morgan Watkinson led the Lady Miners (1-12, 0-10, 0-6) with 10 points, while classmates Kyra Levan and Melena Krownapple each booked three.
With neither Ignacio nor Dove Creek having led each other by more than five points, IHS got 10 points from senior center Shelcie Gosney in the tight defeat, and reserve Harmony Reynolds contributed a vital nine in helping Gosney and others operate against DCHS’ frontcourt size. 5’10” freshman Kalie Gatlin proved particularly problematic, going off for two three-pointers and 12 total first-quarter points, en route to totaling 14, while senior guard Kobie Beanland registered five points.
Behind 18-15 after eight minutes but ahead 26-24 through 16, Ignacio went into the fourth quarter trailing 39-38 but would pull even – for the last time, as it turned out – at 44-44 via a Valdez trey with 4:12 remaining.
“Our game … against Mancos really lit a fire under us; we wanted to come out and play as hard as we could,” Valdez said. “Personally, I felt like I was playing my hardest. I did get tired, you know; we play with a solid six players rotating, so we were all tired. And I think what hurt us most was fouls … and we’ve just got to work on that; I think, again, it’s from tiredness.”
“But as a team we just have to push through it.”
UNLUCKY: The only one of Telluride’s seniors not suited up, Margaux Lovely had a perfectly good and visible reason. Benched much of last season by a right ACL injury, she grinned while explaining her braced left knee … and its now-damaged ACL, likely to also claim her imminent soccer season.
“Same team, and almost the same spot on the floor!” she said, alluding to the incident occurring, like last winter’s, against Mancos near the low-block area just outside the lane. “I couldn’t believe it, you know?”
UPDATE: On Monday, March 8, the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 2021 Class 2A State Tournament bracket reveal showed the Lady ’Cats receiving inclusion in Quadrant II and the No. 12 overall seed, as well as an initial Round-of-24 home game Tuesday, March 9, versus No. 21 Hoehne (8-6, 5-3 Santa Fe).
Results from the 5 p.m. showdown were unavailable at press time.
The winner would then advance to meet 5-seed (and first-round ‘bye’ recipient) Rocky Ford – the same squad Ignacio ousted in last year’s Region VIII championship, held inside IHS Gymnasium – on March 11 in the ‘Sweet 16.’ Second place in the SFL with a 7-1 mark, the Lady Meloneers entered that contest 11-2 overall.