Revamped Cats batter Bloomfield, advance to 4-0

IHS Boys' Basketball
IHS Boys' Basketball
IHS Boys' Basketball
Ignacio senior Austin Haire (23) battles Bloomfield (N.M.) Bobcats Tyler Barker (44) and Michael Crockett for an attempt near the rim during Ignacio’s home opener on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Ignacio won 56-34 in the non-league meeting, improving their record to 4-0 before their final pre-Christmas contests.
Ignacio's Clayton Jefferson (11) flies towards the rim during the Bobcats' 58-57 win over 3A Shiprock (N.M.) in the finale of the 2012 Webb Toyota/Kirtland (N.M.) Central Boys' Basin Invitational inside Kirtland Central’s Bronco Arena on Saturday, Dec. 1. Observing in the background are Chieftains Darryle Nelson (5) and Patdric Toehe (42). Jefferson was named Tournament MVP and All-Tournament, along with teammate Wyatt Hayes, Shiprock’s Hiram Gleason, Kirtland Central’s Christian Mackey, Michael Crockett of 3A Bloomfield (N.M.), and 2A Las Cruces (N.M.) Mesilla Valley Christian's Jeff Adler.
The Ignacio Bobcats stand with a trophy sought for nearly 30 years: the first-place prize from the Webb Toyota/Kirtland (N.M.) Central Boys' Basin Invitational, at last secured on Saturday, Dec. 1 after a 58-57 win over 3A Shiprock (N.M.) inside Kirtland Central’s Bronco Arena. Holding the trophy, with help from teammate Justin Carver to his left, is junior Kelton Richmond, whose buzzer-beating floater midway down the lane defeated the Chieftains after IHS had beaten the 4A Broncos 57-49, then routed 1A Whitehorse (Montezuma Creek, UT) 58-30 to reach the championship. Third place and the Sportsmanship Award went to 2A Las Cruces (N.M.) Mesilla Valley Christian, which beat KC 37-32. Fifth place went to 3A Bloomfield (N.M.), 33-18 over WHS.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

There wasn’t anything to it, but to do it.
And against 3A Bloomfield (N.M.), the Ignacio boys did it.
Beginning with a three-point play by junior Kelton Richmond, the Bobcats bolted out to a 17-4 lead after just eight minutes of their Tuesday, Dec. 4 home opener, en route to a 56-34 defeat of the other Bobcats.
“Well, it’s a new day,” said Richmond, whose high-arc bank shot from eight feet out had stunned talented Shiprock (N.M.) three nights earlier at at the 2012 Webb Toyota/Kirtland (N.M.) Central Boys’ Basin Invitational, which ended with Ignacio coming out on top.
“And we needed to come out and get another ‘W,’” Richmond said after a 15-point performance against Bloomfield, which came on the heels of dropping 12 on the Chieftains for a three-game Webb total of 29.
With 6:04 left in the first half, freshman Wyatt Hayes’ third three-pointer put Bloomfield behind 20-8, and with Webb MVP Clayton Jefferson sinking his two triples in the same quadrant, Ignacio led 28-16 at the break.
As fouls rapidly mounted against the guests, Ignacio’s lead grew to 41-22 through three quarters. Head coach Chris Valdez tapped into his bench to finish the job, starting with freshman Anthony Manzanares’ transition bucket off a Hayes feed with 6:50 remaining.
Sporting a shirt and tie for the Webb, senior Dimitri Reynolds was activated for the contest inside IHS Gymnasium and responded with two free throws in as many tries. And converted wrestler Antonio Torres ended the game with 1-of-2 at the stripe and 0:01 left.
Jefferson finished with 15 points and Hayes 11 for Ignacio (4-0 overall), which began the season as a “Receiving Votes” squad in the Denver Post’s Class 2A preseason rankings. Sophomore Adison Jones, in addition to holding down much of the glasswork, chipped in five points, and senior low-post mate Austin Haire added four.
Michael Crockett and Ryan Johnson each scored 10 for Bloomfield, and Barker added seven.
Up next for Ignacio will be a Friday, Dec. 14 test against Sargent, No. 10 in the Post poll. Great Eight qualifiers last season, but beaten immediately by Loveland Resurrection Christian and then ousted by Wiggins, the Farmers come in with a 1-1 record.
The Mavericks, SJBL competition for Ignacio, reached the 1A Great Eight last season, losing to eventual runners-up Blanca Sierra Grande, but then recovered with a win over Springfield to reach the consolation bracket final, where they fell to Collbran Plateau Valley 50-47.
The Bobcats’ pre-Christmas slate ends with a trip to 3A Pagosa Springs on Thursday, Dec. 20.

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