Two times tense

Ignacio’s Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga (12) shifts direction while dribbling through midcourt against Monte Vista’s Zariah Archuleta (24) during non-league play Saturday, Jan. 7.
Ignacio’s Laci Brunson (2) attempts a jumper over Monte Vista’s Zariah Archuleta (24) during non-league play Saturday, Jan. 7.
Ignacio’s Harmony Reynolds attempts to rip the ball away from Monte Vista’s Rosemary Rodriguez (12) during non-league play Saturday, Jan. 7.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Lady ’Cats clip Monte Vista in double-OT

Though soon superseded on the scoreboard, there was no denying DaLaney Wesner’s clutch free throws – coming with 0:08.1 left in regulation – sparked the Lady Bobcats, who began the 2023 half of their schedule outlasting visiting Monte Vista 49-47 in a double-overtime affair Saturday, Jan. 7.

One of just two reserves utilized against the Lady Pirates, Wesner’s matching makes tied the score at 34, and the first four-minute bonus session resulted after MVHS’ Rosemary Rodriguez couldn’t get a shot away before the fourth quarter expired.

“I’ve shot a million free throws, I know I can shoot them – and so I shot them for my team,” Wesner said afterwards. “I didn’t want to let my family down either …  Just had to take a breath and shoot!”

Something which was easier said than done; 3A Ignacio (6-2 overall) went just 12-of-21 from the charity stripe during the fourth quarter and the OTs, while 2A Monte Vista (4-3; one game not reported) was 3-of-8. The visitors, however, managed to hold a 40-38 lead late in the first overtime after a layup by senior Lexi Marquez. Lady ’Cat senior Laci Brunson equalized with a pair from the foul line, but MVHS had an ideal chance to swipe victory when junior Stephanie Lopez stepped to the line for two tries and just 0:12.1 left.

Both attempts inexplicably failed, and IHS forced the second OT stanza when sophomore Marissa Olguin stole a Monte Vista inbounds pass and dribbled out the clock with the score knotted at 40-40.

Lacking senior post Syriah Bernal, who’d fouled out on the play putting all eyes on Wesner, the Lady Pirates suffered another depleting blow when Marquez fouled out 12 ticks into the fresh four minutes. Still, MVHS continued to press the issue, getting key baskets from junior Zariah Archuleta and senior Alyssa Ortega, plus two FTs from junior Alycia Espinoza.

Meanwhile, IHS senior Harmony Reynolds netted the last two of her game-high 17 points, and junior Solymar Cosio four of her 10 before fouling out with 0:03.4 remaining. Sinking one more free throw, Brunson also finished with 10 points. Olguin totaled six points, while Wesner, junior Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga and junior Maci Barnes each contributed two.

All told, Ignacio went 20-of-34 (Brunson 8-11, Cosio 6-10, Reynolds 3-6) from the foul line; Monte Vista finished 9-of-18, but made two three-pointers to IHS’ one and totaled 18 field goals compared to the Lady Bobcats’ 14.

“We really did put up some nice layups and fast-break buckets there at the end, but of course we came up just the tiniest bit short,” said Bernal, who tallied a MVHS-best 11 points. “I’m just really proud of our girls because this was probably one of our best games yet this season; we really came together to fight hard, hold our ground and just compete as well as we could.”

“Especially with two starters fouling out, it really got hard there at the end,” she added, “but I’m proud of our girls coming off the bench to really step up and play their game.”

Ignacio led the contest 9-7 after one quarter, but Monte Vista sophomore Allessah Archuleta tied it at 13 with 1.2 seconds left in the second. Each crew then registered ten third-quarter points, leaving the game deadlocked at 23-23 beginning the fourth.

Each Archuleta finished with nine points for the Lady Pirates, while Lopez and Ortega each ended up with five. Rodriguez scored four points in defeat, and Marquez and Espinoza each managed two.

“I thought this game was a good challenge; it taught us that we just need to keep working, but that we’re doing really good,” Allessah Archuleta said. “It was super-loud in this gym, and (we) just had to zone everything out; it was super-fun.”

IHS will next begin 3A/4A Intermountain play hosting Alamosa on January 13, then visiting Pagosa Springs on the 14th.

“Guards and posts, we obviously have a lot to work on,” admitted Wesner, “but I think us coming out with a win helped; we got our heads in the game and finished. But we definitely have a lot to work on now after this.”

“Coach (Trae Seibel) mainly focused … on our defense, not really our offense,” she noted. “Because defense is where you can get steals, shut the other team down.”

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