Bobcats begin ’23 losing by three

Ignacio’s Ambrose Valdez (22) pulls up for a jumper over Monte Vista’s Alejandro Felix during non-league play Saturday, Jan. 7
Ignacio's Devante Montoya (11) accelerates past Monte Vista's Azariah Hurtado (24) on a drive into the lane during non-league play Saturday, Jan. 7.
Preparing to set up the offense, Ignacio's Phillip Quintana (10) advances the ball to midcourt Saturday, Jan. 7, versus non-league Monte Vista.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS boys fall 38-35 to Monte Vista

Even without Eppie Quintana, sidelined by a left ankle swollen to roughly twice its normal size after an injury in practice, Ignacio’s boys still did enough Saturday evening, Jan. 7, to nearly ring in the 2023 half of their schedule with a victory.

But after trailing visiting Monte Vista by six points, 37-31, with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats’ bid to at least force overtime ended up unsuccessful, as junior Phillip Quintana’s right-wing three-pointer at the buzzer was off-target – permitting the Pirates to escape IHS Gymnasium with a 38-35 win.

“We had four different guys who could run the point (guard position) if they had to, and three of them ran it, actually. We went through our plays, narrowed down our offense a little bit so they could handle it,” said Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez, addressing his senior floor general’s absence. “And the good part was, without a legitimate point guard we still were able to probably have less turnovers than we usually do.”

“But … turnovers hurt us a lot, and at the end we still lose the game,” he continued. “But that is what it is; when you’re playing without someone you’re used to having out there, taking care of the ball, that’s going to happen. So, we’ll continue to work and try to get better from this.”

“We hit a few big shots but the rebounding separation in the second half was what I think helped propel us to that victory,” MVHS head coach Presley Garcia said. – “Also, we played really good defense; whenever you can hold somebody under 40 you have a chance to win. We’re not by any means scoring 95 points a game, so if you can hold somebody under 40 you give yourselves a shot.”

Tied 9-9 after one quarter, via Pirate Alex Marquez’s buzzer-beating three, the non-league contest began unfolding more in IHS’ favor during the second, as the ’Cats (3-5, 0-0 3A/4A Intermountain) built up a 17-11 lead thanks to a Coty Webb corner trey with 5:24 left. – But behind freshman talent Azariah Hurtado’s four second-quarter points, Monte Vista (5-3, 0-0 2A/3A Southern Peaks) shrank the deficit down to just two points, 19-17, by halftime.

Ignacio’s Ambrose Valdez, who split PG duties with Phillip Quintana and Devante Montoya, nailed a corner three early in the third quarter to put the ’Cats up 22-19, only to see Hurtado answer from deep as MVHS went up 26-22. – IHS’ Charlie Pargin then knocked down a three and Montoya converted a breakaway layup to regain the home team a one-point advantage, but the guests would go into the final frame up 30-27 after baskets by Hurtado and big man Alejandro Felix.

Quintana and Gabe Cox each netted a two-pointer to bring Ignacio back to 34-31 before MVHS’ Addan Heredia canned a three. Cox responded with two more inside baskets, bringing the Bobcats back to 37-35 with 2:32 remaining. In no hurry whatsoever, the Pirates spread the floor on offense and began milking precious time off the clock, including one particular stall which consumed more than a minute before Montoya purposely committed a foul putting Memphis Garcia at the free-throw line.

Garcia missed both tries, but four seconds later Heredia managed to halve a pair, and IHS failed to answer after calling a timeout with 0:05 left to draw up something of a play – assuming, of course, a successful inbounds pass from midcourt.

“We’ve been shooting terrible from the free-throw line,” Presley Garcia said, “and we’ve also got to get in … more shape, you know? Christmas break caught up to us, our guys ate a little too many Christmas cookies and we need to get in shape and keep working on our discipline a little bit.”

“But tonight, it was a good surprise to have ‘Raz,’” he added, saluting Hurtado’s game-high 15 points, “who we think … can lead this team to some big things; as a freshman he’s got the intangibles, and he’s kind of learning from the older guys.”

Heredia and Garcia each finished with six points, Kaden Mellott chipped in four and Marquez three.

For Ignacio, Cox totaled eight points and Quintana seven, while Montoya, Valdez, Pargin and Webb each booked five.

“We had a couple opportunities to get shots off towards the end. Got a couple of steals that we turned directly into outlet turnovers, which hurt us in that fourth quarter,” Coach Chris Valdez said. “But I thought the kids played hard and did the right things; we got their big guy in foul trouble, we went inside, and we went outside.”

IHS will next begin IML play hosting Alamosa Friday, January 13, then visiting Pagosa Springs on the 14th. Both the Mean Moose and the Pirates, ranked No. 10 and No. 6, respectively, in the 1/9 CHSAANow.com Class 4A poll, boast 8-1 overall records entering the weekend’s action.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up with … teams that are … a little outside of our talent range,” said Valdez, “but we’ll try to come up with a plan … to give them a good game. 

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