Thu Feb 23rd, 2023
Special to the Drum
Categories: Sports, Basketball, Sports
Tags: 3A/4A Intermountain League, Amiyah Ogo, Cyriah Begay, Harmony Reynolds, Kalea Ogo, Kayce Tom, lady bobcats, Lady Panthers, Marissa Olguin, Markylla Jones, Savannah Haselroth, Solymar Cosio, Trae Seibel
Brunson-fueled second half yields 46-31 win
Throughout a scoreless first half personally, Ignacio point guard Laci Brunson frequently heard head coach Trae Seibel shouting ‘High percentage!’ when it came to the sort of shot she – and her fellow ball-handlers – should seek to set up.
And fortunately, the Lady Bobcats were able to do so enough during two back-and-forth quarters Thursday evening, Feb. 16, inside Montezuma-Cortez H.S. Gymnasium, with senior forward/center Harmony Reynolds and junior center/forward Solymar Cosio combining for six field goals and 16 of the visitors’ 24 total points.
But with the hosting Lady Panthers looking to deliver unto Amiyah Ogo a Senior Night win, 3A M-CHS not only recovered from squandering a game-starting 7-0 lead, but also entered intermission trailing by just a point, 24-23, after managing to erase 3A IHS’ 22-16 lead during the last 4:29 of the second stanza.
Having already cashed a left-wing three-pointer tying the 3A/4A Intermountain League contest at 22-all, junior sniper Cyriah Begay drilled another equalizer from out of a corner early in the third, re-knotting the score at 28.
Not long after, Seibel hollered a new command: ‘Spread! Spread!’ Music to a certain senior’s ears. “I turned her loose,” a grinning Seibel quipped afterwards.
Powered by two successful Brunson drives – one producing an ‘and-one’ bonus free throw – through a less-congested lane, Ignacio strung together seven unanswered points before Montezuma-Cortez managed a basket trimming a growing deficit back down to 35-30 beginning the fourth quarter.
But after Reynolds (15 points, 3-4 FT) and Cosio (9, 1-2 FT) each crashed inside for close-range buckets, countered by only a single Kalea Ogo free throw, Brunson began putting the finishing touches on what ended up a 46-31 road victory. First came a three-pointer, assisted by junior guard Maci Barnes, out of the corner with 3:52 left in regulation, with two FTs – resulting from an Amiyah Ogo foul – then following with 2:43 remaining.
Able to keep M-CHS junior Savannah Haselroth (8 first-half points, 1 second-half) in check while also surrendering no more Begay treys the rest of the way, the Lady ’Cats maxed out their lead with one final Brunson take to the hoop.
“Coach just told us that we had to play disciplined, because [the game] kept going back and forth,” said Brunson (3-3 FT), who totaled 14 points. “When we had a lead, we had to just move the ball and take our time to get a good shot.”
Key to IHS’ efforts early, Barnes ended up with six points – all in the first half – and sophomore Marissa Olguin chipped in her two during the first frame in response to a Haselroth three putting M-CHS up 10-9 – and halting a 9-0 Ignacio spree wiping out the Lady Panthers’ initial seven-point burst.
Begay totaled three threes and nine points for Montezuma-Cortez (4-14, 2-8 IML), and junior Kayce Tom scored five with her first four – two via a buzzer-beating, close-range baseline basket – coming during the wild, tone-setting first quarter. Junior Markylla Jones booked four points, while Kalea Ogo, a sophomore, and freshman Sariah Jackson each managed two.
“We came out on a high note, which is really good especially with us in a new league,” Brunson said. “So, we’re excited to just go on, see what we can do … in the postseason.”
Ignacio (10-9, 4-6 IML) will next see action in the upcoming IML District Tournament, hosted by Centauri.
Montezuma-Cortez, meanwhile, was to host the play-in game – Bayfield (4-14, 0-10) a likely opponent – on Tuesday, Feb. 21, but results were unavailable at press time.