Quintana’s shooting not enough in loss
Trailing visiting Bayfield 7-2 after a mutually awful first quarter inside IHS Gymnasium, and 14-4 after Wolverine senior Jackson Queen sank a three-pointer with 4:54 left in the second, Ignacio’s boys, hoping to steal a Senior Night win Saturday evening, February 4, suddenly sprang into action.
Sparked by junior guard Phillip Quintana’s two three-pointers and a breakaway layup by junior guard Devante Montoya, the Bobcats rallied to tie the score at 17-17 before Queen cashed a trey just before the halftime buzzer. Still with momentum after the ten-minute intermission, the ’Cats at last forged ahead, 22-20, early in the third quarter via Quintana’s third triple.
“The past few games … my confidence wasn’t that high – for shooting threes – but … in my head I just thought, ‘Hey I’m going to make them today!’” Quintana said. “And sure enough, I made all the threes I shot, pretty much – only missed, like, three.”
“Senior Night definitely helped a lot,” he noted. “The speech from my brother got my confidence up, really helped me.”
Hard as it became to believe, the two-point lead was IHS’ only … and last.
A relative non-factor during the first half, Bayfield senior Lance Mazur nailed a three regaining the upper hand in the 3A/4A Intermountain League clash, and Queen – still red-hot after a 14-point half featuring four treys – followed with another. Mazur then sank yet another bomb, and Queen did likewise with 3:44 remaining in the quarter.
IHS skipper Chris Valdez took a timeout in hopes of stopping the run, but Wolverine senior forward/center Caden Wood answered by swishing a surprise three – inflating BHS’ lead to 36-22 with 2:18 to go.
“Caden takes a lot of jokes and a lot of teasing … but he’s a good shooter; we knew he could make that shot if he was wide-open,” said Bayfield head coach Scott Key. “They started to key on Jackson and … I said, ‘If they don’t think you can shoot, spot up when you’re open and knock it down!’”
“We knew that was it right there,” Wood said. “We came out of halftime and every shot just started falling for us. Once our shots started falling we knew no team could hang with us at that point.”
“I thought we’d really come to life,” said Valdez. “Got down by about ten there … and made a nice run to get within three at halftime, then came out and hit two shots in a row! And then the wheels kind of fell off.”
“When our defense is tight we can stay with anybody, but when our defense starts falling apart … against a good team like this – they’ve got three or four guys who can knock it down – that’s it.”
Senior Eppie Quintana closed out the third cleaning up a Phillip Quintana miss, trimming the deficit down to 40-27, but despite the younger Quintana canning his fourth and fifth three-pointers during the deciding eight minutes, Bayfield got four more Mazur points and as many from sophomore guard Lincoln Williams in winning the final frame 10-6 and the game 50-33.
“We were definitely coming in here a little bit fatigued and tired,” said Wood, alluding to BHS’ 55-38 loss in La Jara to Centauri the previous night, “but … you’ve just got to come in here, push through it to come out with a win helping out the team.”
“We were turning the ball over on stupid stuff and once we fixed that it just changed things a lot.”
Queen finished with six threes and a game-high 20 points for the Wolverines (8-9 overall, 2-6 IML), and Mazur booked 14 points in support. Williams totaled eight points and Wood four, as did junior guard Devin Cundiff – given a starting spot with senior Max Meyers up in Fort Collins, performing at the 71st Annual Colorado All-State Orchestra.
“We knew we were walking into a Senior Night – always extremely emotional – and usually Ignacio has one of the greatest home crowds there is. We knew from the get-go that we had to take the crowd out of the game,” Key said. “It didn’t start off as fast as we would have hoped, but they struggled as well.”
“There was a lot of energy in here, guys were overplaying, but we kind of settled down … and, you know, good things started to happen. At halftime we made some big adjustments and put the pedal down … got what we needed done, done.”
In a battle where neither team scored for the first miscue-marred 4:15 (Queen then got things going with a three), Phillip Quintana – bouncing back from a zero-point showing in the previous night’s 54-37 loss to Pagosa Springs – totaled 17 points in defeat. Junior center/forward Gabe Cox scrapped for seven, Eppie Quintana totaled four, Montoya managed three and senior Dylan McCaw two – after netting ten against the Pirates, with Cox scoring 12.
“I thought we came out … with the Senior/Parent Night thing … just starry-eyed; we couldn’t hit a shot,” said Valdez. “And they were missing wide-open shots – neither of us was guarding the other that first quarter, and still, we couldn’t score!”
“We don’t have any consistent guys right now,” he continued. “Phillip did a good job today … so if we can get him to be consistent … then we’ll try to find somebody else on Tuesday, then Friday. Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll go to the district tournament good enough to stay with some of these teams. We’ll work on it, not give up and keep moving forward.”
Stuck in an eight-game slide after a winless January, the Bobcats (3-12, 0-7 IML) will continue league play hosting Montezuma-Cortez (6-9, 2-5) Friday night, February 10, with fourth-ranked [CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll, 2/6] CHS coming to town the next evening to conclude a rugged week. Results from IHS’ game on the 7th at non-league Dove Creek – up a notch to No. 4 in the Class 1A rankings – were unavailable at press time.