Fri Feb 11th, 2022
Special to the Drum
Tags: 2A/1A San Juan Basin League, Allie Kibel, Ashlynn Mikkelson, Avaleena Nanaeto, Chandler Smith, Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga, Dolores High School, Elisia Cruz, Eva Abshire, Halee Kibel, Harmony Reynolds, head coach Tony Gomez, Ignacio Girls Basketball, Ignacio High School Basketball, Ignacio Lady Cats, Kylie Burt, Laci Brunson, Marissa Olguin, Merci Craft
Non-stop style swamps Telluride, Dolores
Backlash, as expected, wasted nearly no time visiting Ignacio Girls’ Basketball in the wake of an 89-2 home win Wed., Feb. 2, then a 60-16 win on the 4th at Dolores – both products of a run-’til-it’s-done mentality often decried (but probably desired in secret) throughout the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League.
But with IHS getting back to .500 following previous losses at Southern Peaks Leaguers Sargent as well as SJBL’ers Mancos – that one a result of squandering an 18-point halftime lead – those criticizing first-year head coach Tony Gomez seem to have overlooked one statistic:
Even without sprint-ready guard Marissa Olguin’s 40 points tallied against THS, Lady Bobcat reserves (versus the Lady Miners Olguin, only a freshman, was one; Gomez started senior Elisia Cruz that evening in her place) still outscored both opponents’ rosters by an aggregate 21-18 margin.
Senior regular Avaleena Nanaeto, meanwhile, totaled just ten points and junior regular Laci Brunson six – including a near-voluntary zero against DHS – in the two outings, as both looked content to defer to the team’s eager up-and-comers. Sophomore Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga booked ten points against Telluride and 13 at Dolores, while junior rebound machine Harmony Reynolds registered 16 points in the former contest and 12 in the latter – in which IHS (6-6, 3-2 2A/1A SJBL, 3-1 2A SJBL) all but turned off their collective engine during the fourth quarter.
In fact, the only player to score inside the closing eight minutes was Olguin, who totaled a game-best 15 points and chose to display a potent perimeter shot – producing three three-pointers (she sank two against THS as well), one in the final frame – rather than simply outhustle foes to loose balls, then convert such takeaways into transition layups.
“It’s been fun … a good experience,” Olguin humbly said of her back-to-back efforts. “(Gomez) just told us to … be patient with the ball, drive and do our best.”
And nobody could say she didn’t earn her last trey.
Denied a breakaway basket by a hard Allie Kibel foul with 6:30 left until halftime, Olguin was pulled from play after crashing into the gymnasium’s end wall. Incensed and awakened despite having already increased their 12-4 first-quarter lead to a relatively-safe 18-4, the Lady ’Cats responded in force.
Nanaeto proceeded to swish two free throws in Olguin’s stead, inflating IHS’ pad to 16 points. Cruz (seven points; 13 total) further increased the lead to 29-4 by hitting IHS’ first three-pointer, and Ignacio led 32-4 before Lady Bear freshman Halee Kibel made a free throw to stop the guests’ 20-point spree.
Fellow freshman Eva Abshire then also hit one before intermission, which began with IHS ahead 37-6.
All told, Allie Kibel, a senior, finished with four points for Dolores (3-8, 0-2, 0-1), as did junior Chandler Smith and sophomore Ashlynn Mikkelson. Abshire logged her two from the charity stripe, and sophomore reserve Kylie Burt netted one.
Telluride’s points came via a heads-up finish by senior Merci Craft. Passing to a teammate on her right, positioned a couple feet into the lane, Craft saw the Lady ’Cats swarm and knock free the ball … but inadvertently kick it back her way. Alertly making the scoop, Craft ably split Brunson and Mendoza-Lechuga near the foul line, penetrated the paint, then let fly and hit a running jumper preventing a shutout with 5:21 left in the third quarter and the margin 56-2.
Dolores was to next travel Wed., Feb. 9, to IHS Gymnasium for a 5:30 p.m. rematch. Results were unavailable at press time and neither were figures from Ignacio’s 2/8 trip to Dove Creek, ranked No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com Class 1A Girls’ poll released the previous day.
And as if visiting DC’s ‘DawgHouse’ wasn’t tough enough, the Lady ’Cats will host SPL menace Sanford (No. 2 in 2A; 12-1 overall prior to hosting 3A La Jara Centauri on Feb. 8, then visiting SPL rival Sargent on the 10th) Friday evening, Feb. 11.
The Lady Bobcats’ postponed Jan. 18 trip to 3A Montezuma-Cortez has been rescheduled for Feb. 16, with play to begin at 4:30 p.m.