Lady Cats survive into regionals

Ignacio Lady Bobcats
Angela Herrera (25)
Cloe Seibel
The Ignacio Lady Bobcats present the 2A-District 3 Tournament's second-place plaque to their fans gathered in Cortez on Saturday, March 1. Ignacio lost to Ridgway 50-33 in the finale, but by way of a win over Nucla the previous afternoon, Ignacio still qualified for the Region III Tournament, March 7-8 in Durango at Fort Lewis College.
Ignacio's Angela Herrera (25) tries getting a shot up and under the forearm shiver of Ridgway's Haley Crozier (3) during 2A-District 3 Tournament action in Cortez on Saturday, March 1. The Lady Bobcats lost to the Lady Demons in the championship game, 50-33, but will play at the March 7-8 Region III Tournament in Durango at Fort Lewis College.
Ignacio's Cloe Seibel attempts a finger-roll around Ridgway's McCall Skalla (1) during 2A-District 3 Tournament action in Cortez on Saturday, March 1. The Lady Bobcats lost to the Lady Demons in the championship game, 50-33, but will play at the March 7-8 Region III Tournament in Durango at Fort Lewis College.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Against a physical and prepared Ridgway team, the Lady Bobcats fell behind by seven after one quarter of the 2A-District 3 Tournament’s championship and ultimately trailed by 17 after four.

Unfortunately, that was just one more than Ignacio’s number of misses from point-blank range.

“We missed 16 layups. … That adds up to a lot of points real quick,” said head coach Shane Seibel. “We wanted to … really play a better ball game than what we did. That was our expectation.”

But with Seibel having edged Kelly Arnold in the previous evening’s “Sharp-dressed Showdown,” his bolo bettering the Nucla boss’ more conventional simple-knot tie, Ignacio still left Montezuma-Cortez’s Ron Wright Memorial Gymnasium able to see one more weekend, at least, of basketball.

“We lived to fight another day. … There’s a lot of teams that are not going to be able to practice next week, so we’ll count our blessings and move forward,” Seibel said. “Really work our tails off to improve our deficiencies.”

Senior Gabriela Garcia’s start (seven first-quarter points, 11 total) and classmate Cloe Seibel’s finish (13 second-half points, 15 total) helped mask as many of those as possible against Nucla, but Lady Mustang posts Macie Magallon and Erin Staats were able to outsize their way to 10 combined first-half points, helping Nucla stay within 24-22 at halftime on day one.

Staats tied the score at 26 early in the third quarter, but Ignacio sophomore Ellie Seibel (11 points) answered with a basket and Cloe Seibel knocked down a three-pointer soon after for a 32-26 lead that wouldn’t be compromised the rest of the way in a 46-38 victory.

Guard Carlie Wytulka led Nucla with 11 points, while Staats, Magallon and guard Shalyn Steffan each finished with eight as the game stayed close for several reasons. The Lady Cats won the low-visibility bench-scoring battle, four points to one, and neither side was decidedly strong at the free-throw line. Ignacio was just 10 of 20, Nucla nine of 19.

Ignacio’s figure improved to 15 of 23 against Ridgway, but Ignacio was unable to sustain the potential momentum gained when senior Roshae Weaver beat the first quarter’s buzzer with a layup. With the Lady Demons leading 11-4, the second quarter began just as devoid of flow until consecutive Grace Benasutti jumpers gave Steve Hill’s team its first double-digit advantage at 17-7.

Seven-of-10 accuracy at the charity stripe was the lone reason the Lady Cats, who made but nine shots total from the field, trailed by just 12 points, 25-13, at halftime. Ridgway’s Haley Crozier scored seven points in the first 16 minutes and finished with a game-best 18. Benasutti totaled 10, as did reserve Brynne Skalla, and center Rane Dickerson notched seven in Ridgway’s 50-33 triumph.

“I think they just got us on the press,” Cloe Seibel said. “We weren’t really ready on breaking the press, and it kind of killed us. That’s what we’re working on this next week, so we can make it to state. … We are experienced, and we know how it feels to be up there and what it takes. Hopefully we just keep on remembering how it felt and what it takes to get up there.”

Garcia paced Ignacio in the loss with 15 points, 14 of which came in the second half, including eight of Ignacio’s nine in the third quarter. Cloe Seibel finished with eight, but Ellie Seibel was blanked. Angela Herrera chipped in five, while Weaver was held to just three in each contest.

“I think we left things on the table,” Shane Seibel said, “but hats off to Ridgway. They had a good game plan, they executed well, and rightfully so they deserve the district championship.”

Now 8-13 overall, up next for the Lady Cats will be a Region III semifinals battle this weekend against D-5 runners-up Paonia (18-5) inside Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium, with the winner advancing to face either Ridgway or D-1 fourth-placers Sargent (12-9).

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