Lady ’Cats take two of season’s first four 

Ignacio senior Avaleena Nanaeto (35) drives baseline around Sargent's Mary Willis (4) during the Lady Bobcats' season-opener, Dec. 2, at the Centauri-hosted Mountain Top Classic in La Jara. Nanaeto would score 19 points against the Lady Farmers, and total 38 during IHS' three games at the event.
Ignacio senior Elisia Cruz (11) attempts to swat the ball free from Sargent's Kamryn Holland (3) during the Lady Bobcats' season-opener, Dec. 2, at the Centauri-hosted Mountain Top Classic in La Jara.
Ignacio senior Monika Lucero, left, enjoys a pre-game laugh with trainer Shelby Sangster before making her long-awaited return – from an injury which robbed her of virtually all her junior season – to action Sat., Dec. 11, in Telluride versus Crested Butte.
Ignacio senior Monika Lucero (20) works the ball around the wing Sat., Dec. 11, in Telluride against Crested Butte. Her long-awaited return to action – from an injury suffered in last season's opener at Sanford – was cut short due to injury (on her other leg) with 19.1 seconds left in the first half.
The referee made sure to get a good look at Ignacio sophomore Solymar Cosio's clean block of a Crested Butte player's shot Sat., Dec. 11, in neutral Telluride.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Re-injured senior Ignacio’s biggest loss 

With Ignacio the designated ‘home’ team inside Telluride’s MinerDome Sat., Dec. 11, trainer Shelby Sangster was on hand and on call for the Lady Bobcats’ noontime, non-league basketball game against 2A Crested Butte Community School. 

And with warm-up drills giving all braving the weekend’s cold snap – the outside temperature was still below zero degrees Fahrenheit when IHS’ bus steered into the parking lot – a strong preview of which side would prove themselves superior, despite CBCS having won 47-27 win the previous evening at 2A Ridgway, she could just watch the Lady ’Cats coast, right? 

So wrong. 

Having responded immediately to the pained cry of a CBCS player – reportedly junior Ellie Duryea, said to be returning from a volleyball-season injury – who wracked her right ankle with 3:37 left in the first quarter, trailing a teammate’s take to the hoop, Sangster was again summoned late in the second … to the other end of the court, the end Ignacio was attacking. 

Casting a shadow over a rough-and-tumble 57-18 conquest, the sight – and sound – of senior guard Monika Lucero, returning to action after damaging her right Achilles tendon in the first quarter of last season’s opener at Sanford, hitting the deck in pursuit of an unclaimed ball, then being carried off with a left-leg injury requiring both a protective boot/shroud plus crutches for Lucero to make an untimely exit. 

The Lady ’Cats (2-2 overall) fortunately managed to get through the first half’s last 19.1 seconds without additional incident, and returned to the locker room having increased their 12-3 first-quarter lead to 23-8. Able to win a foul-filled third quarter – junior Harmony Reynolds fouled out with 2:08 left, and a Lady Titan picked up her fifth personal with 0:31.6 left – by a 9-8 margin, Ignacio made amends in the fourth and took it 25-2. 

Sophomore Darlyn Lechuga-Mendoza (10 points) would foul out on a charging call with 7:19 left, but after Crested Butte lost another player to a fifth personal with 6:32 left, IHS sophomore Solymar Cosio converted a three-point play – expanding the lead to 35-16 – which opened the proverbial floodgates offensively. 

Cosio would finish with a team-high 12 points, while junior guard Laci Brunson contributed nine and senior guard/forward Avaleena Nanaeto – named All-Tournament at the previous weekend’s season-opening Mountain Top Classic, hosted Dec. 2-4 by 3A La Jara Centauri – booked eight. Benched alongside Reynolds (3 points) at the beginning in order to give Lucero and fellow senior Elisia Cruz (4 points) starting-lineup nods, freshman guard Marissa Olguin netted six points and freshman reserve DaLaney Wesner helped polish off the victory with five, all logged during the final frame. 

“It feels pretty o.k.,” said Nanaeto. “We need to work harder though – and work on our fouls!” 

“We still need to work on a lot,” Reynolds agreed. “Missed a lot of layups and free throws, so even though we won we still have a lot to practice.” 

Able to hit two first-half three-pointers, junior Blakeley Reynolds paced the Lady Titans (1-4 overall) with 14 total points. 

“She’s played a lot of basketball and it shows in games like this,” said CBCS head coach Amanda Reynolds. “They trust her to take care of the ball … as we grow. We’re young, don’t have a ton of experience, but as we grow, we’ll be able to rely on other positions stepping up. It’ll all come together at some point!” 

IHS’ first win under new head coach Tony Gomez came on Day 2 of the MTC, when the Lady Bobcats, boosted by Nanaeto’s personal 8-0 run bridging the first and second quarters, survived a slight fourth-quarter stall and defeated 2A Olathe 42-31 with Brunson totaling 12 points and Nanaeto 11. 

“We just came out a little more disciplined, ready, and I think we took it a little more serious,” said Gomez, alluding to the previous night’s 60-46 loss to post-powered 2A Sargent. 

“But you know, I give the credit to the girls; they’re the ones that play,” Gomez continued, downplaying his first high-school varsity ‘dub.’ “And to the assistant coaches; they know these girls much better than I do, so they’re able to really tell them things that they need to hear. Then I tell them things so they can execute the game plan, and it all just works together.” 

Up next, Ignacio will visit 3A Bayfield Friday evening, Dec. 17. Results from IHS’ 12/14 test at 3A Pagosa Springs – which stood 4-1 overall after losing to 3A Parachute Grand Valley, then beating 3A Salida at the Dec. 10-11 Buena Vista Invitational – were unavailable at press time. 

Mountain Top Classic Girls’ Final-Round Results 

1st – Rye 59, Cedaredge 26; 3rd – Centauri 55, Sargent 27; 5th – DURANGO 49, IGNACIO 33; 7th – Olathe 32, Rocky Ford 31. 

Mtc Girls’ All-Tournament Team 

Rye – Sophie Adamson, Sydney Adamson; Cedaredge – Megan Gastineau, Paige McGovern; Centauri – Abbey Smith, Amaya Garcia; Sargent – Gabby Jones; Durango – Mason Rowland, Riley Campbell; IGNACIO – AVALEENA NANAETO; Olathe – Makayla Millsap; Rocky Ford – Leticia Garcia. 

Ignacio Girls’ Mtc Summary 

Day 1 – Ignacio 46 (Nanaeto 19, Lechuga-Mendoza 11, Reynolds 8), Sargent 60 (M.Willis 21, G.Jones 18, B.Asbell 7); Day 2 – Ignacio 42 (Brunson 12, Nanaeto 11, Reynolds 7), Olathe 31 (M.Millsap 10, S.McCall 6); Day 3 – Ignacio 33 (Nanaeto/Reynolds 8, Brunson 6), Durango 49 (M.Rowland 24, K.Sheppard 13). 

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