IHS boys fall 50-42 vying for IML win
Trailing by 17 points (29-12) at halftime, and ultimately 21 (35-14) early in the third quarter Thursday night, Jan. 19, the Ignacio Bobcats couldn’t afford to lose any more ground in their road game at Bayfield. Incredibly, they didn’t.
Nearly pulling off a historic comeback in enemy territory, IHS rallied back to as close as 42-38 with 4:32 remaining in the fourth and final eight-minute quarter before the hosting Wolverines, outscored 30-21 after intermission, did just enough down the home stretch to claim a 50-42 victory.
“We tend to, when we do have a big lead, sometimes kind of get a little too comfortable. And we’re working on developing that ‘killer instinct’ to take it all the way through,” admitted BHS head coach Scott Key. “But Ignacio’s got a good program; they’re well-coached, and they’re going to make a run.”
A Devante Montoya three-pointer had accounted for the guests’ only second-quarter points, but after the junior guard drained two more treys in the third, the ’Cats (3-8 overall, 0-3 3A/4A Intermountain) had clawed back to 39-27 with 1:23 left. Fellow junior guard Phillip Quintana recorded five (of his ten total) points during the frame, as Ignacio soon went into the fourth down 40-29 after Wolverine senior Lance Mazur’s buzzer-beating 3/4-court heave rimmed out.
Hampered by three personal fouls, all incurred during the third quarter, IHS senior guard Eppie Quintana – back in action after a nasty ankle sprain had forced him to miss a couple games – kept the ’Cats coming back into contention. After junior center/forward Gabe Cox began the fourth with a basket inside, Quintana dropped in back-to-back mid-range runners in the paint within the first 90 ticks.
Bayfield senior Jackson Queen countered with a two-pointer, but the elder Quintana struck back with a corner three cutting the deficit down to just four points with more than half the stanza still remaining. BHS, however, caught a critical break when Eppie Quintana (11 points) fouled out with 2:07 remaining, and Wolverine junior reserve Devin Cundiff sank two free throws rebuilding the locals’ lead to 48-40.
Hounded constantly by a rotation of Queen, senior Noah Chamblee and senior Silas Wilbourn, Cox (10 points) managed one last bucket late but the Wolverines (6-5, 1-2 IML) still prevailed by eight. Even with interior force Caden Wood, one of BHS’ nine saluted seniors, out sick (senior reserve Kord Tideman was also out), Queen racked up a game-high 19 points with his first two (of three total) threes helping the Wolverines hold a slim 10-9 lead after the opening quarter.
Mazur logged 11 points, Chamblee contributed five, Cundiff four and senior guard Max Meyers three.
Each squad canned six treys in the game, but BHS ended up 12-of-22 from the free-throw line and IHS just 2-of-2.
Montoya finished with nine points in defeat, and sophomore reserve forward Charlie Pargin two.
“The fans were amazing; it was one of the fullest houses we’ve had,” Key noted. “Ignacio, their fans travel well so it made for a really loud, anxious gym!”
The Bobcats will next see action Friday, Jan. 27, when they face fourth-ranked (CHSAANow.com Class 3A Boys’ poll, 1/23) Centauri in La Jara. Ignacio will then overnight in the San Luis Valley, in order to visit 4A No. 6 Alamosa – scheduled to play on the 27th at BHS – the next evening.
Well aware that Ignacio had one vicious run – at the least – in them despite trailing by 17 points at halftime Thursday night, Bayfield head coach Scott Key later attributed his team’s 50-42 victory to two things:
An amped Senior Appreciation Night atmosphere, and a second-quarter effort he felt couldn’t have been much better.
“Probably some of the most flawless basketball I’ve seen in a really long time; we executed well,” he said afterwards. “I wish we would have taken that momentum into the third…but we got the job done.”
“I mean, we were playing as a team. Had the ball movement, found the open guys and they hit their shots – that’s what worked for us, so we kept doing it,” sophomore guard Lincoln Williams said. “Executed our offense and played good defense.”
Getting one three-pointer from senior Jackson Queen, plus a somewhat-unexpected trey from senior Noah Chamblee – part of a special starting unit also including the regular Williams, fellow senior reserve Silas Wilbourn and varsity call-ups Byron Pringle and Jonathan Chapman – the Wolverines capped off the second stanza with senior Lance Mazur’s buzzer-beating triple from four feet behind the arc. That gave the hosts 19 points in the period, compared to just a Devante Montoya trey for the guests.
And as the third quarter began, with Mazur cashing another three, things seemed as though they’d only improve in favor of the Wolverines – especially when Mazur converted an and-one three-point play, inflating Bayfield’s advantage to an imposing 35-14.
“We come out and we play really good for maybe a half, and then we let fatigue or something mental get to us – we’re still trying to figure it out,” senior guard Max Meyers said. “But we know that we can play with anybody in our league; we just need to figure out how we can come back from halftime as hot as we were going into halftime.”
“The biggest thing was trying to put (Cox) in foul trouble – which, really, we didn’t do a very good job of doing,” Key explained. “But we did stay active with people cutting in and out, keeping him (occupied); that left open a lot of opportunities on the perimeter, and it really showed…where we were getting touches on the inside, then kicking it outside and making our threes.”
“You know, any time that you have some kind of special night, it always brings a different kind of intensity,” he noted. “And we have nine seniors, nine guys that were pretty pumped up and ready to play, and I think we really played well as a team.”
“After this big win, we have more confidence,” said Williams (8 points). “We’re just going … into every game pushing.”