Fri Dec 13th, 2013
Special to the Drum
Just when it seemed, on several second-half occasions, that Ignacio had something heating up, the other Bobcats smothered it in about as many ways as a coach could conceive.
Able to string together a 20-0 run spanning the late first and nearly all of the second quarter, 3A Bloomfield, N.M., left the locals inside IHS Gymnasium stunned as they answered Ignacio’s own 11-1, season-starting scoreboard burst and ran away with a 58-33 victory in junior-varsity action Tuesday, Dec. 3.
“It’s hard coming back from Thanksgiving break and not having everybody here,” said coach Tim Velasquez. “It kind of hurt us as a team, not being on the same page.”
Early on, however, the boss’s plans translated clearly to every Cat on the court. Point guard Xavier Reynolds dropped in a short jumper to get the scoring started, and power forward John House canned a three the next trip down. Bloomfield countered with a free throw, but House replied with a close-range lay-in and guard Chase Sanchez then nailed a 15-footer off the right wing for a near-automatic 9-1 lead.
Isaiah Harrison then dropped in a baseline runner, and after the visitors finally registered a hoop, Reynolds scored an easy layup after a Sanchez steal near the time line.
“We played very good,” Velasquez said of his side’s start.
But then, unbeknown to any of the excited athletes or their roaring rooters, the proverbial power had been quietly cut off.
Ignacio’s 13-7 lead after one quarter seemed solid, but after Bloomfield took a 14-13 lead midway through the second, it was evident to any homer in the house that something was very wrong. Only a House FT, with 63 seconds left before halftime, saved the Bobcats from an unheard-of scoreless frame as Bloomfield took a 23-14 advantage back into the locker room.
The visitors then increased it with a 7-0 spree beginning the third, before House again hit from the line with 5:40 left. Ignacio’s Darian Neskahy soon cut more into the deficit, making it 33-17 with a jumper, and House (14 points) buried a trey after a Bloomfield layup to bring Ignacio (0-1) back to 35-20.
But they would get no closer; Bloomfield (1-0) closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points, drained a triple for their first points of the fourth, and never looked back.
“Our help defense was … not the best,” Velasquez said. “It’s just the little things we’ve got to work on, and we’ll be ready for our next game.”
That came Tuesday, Dec. 10, after the Drum’s deadline, on the road against the Falcons of 1A Shiprock (N.M.) Northwest. San Juan Basin League action began two days later with a trip to Telluride, and the Bobcats’ away stretch continued on Saturday, Dec. 14 at non-league 2A Sargent.