Fri Dec 27th, 2013
Special to the Drum
Tags: Alejandra Lujan, Alexis Gallegos, Austin McCaw, Bobcat, Brandon Bigleggins, Dylaina Morelli, Ernesto Saldana, Hannah deKay, Ignacio, Isaiah Harrison, Joao Campos, lady bobcats, Rocky Cundiff, Selena Cook, Sharmaine Price, Silverton, Silverton Miners, Tori Archuleta, Trae Seibel, Veronica Gonzales, Will Custer, Xavier Reynolds
Considering it was Friday the 13th, something unusual was bound to happen.
And happen it did to the Ignacio girls’ junior-varsity basketball team, expecting to simply be spectators at that evening’s attraction.
“We actually found out at about 11 o’clock this morning. We did not know, and our coach had no idea either until [Rocky] Cundiff, our athletic director, told us,” said guard Tori Archuleta, after the Lady Bobcats’ unplanned engagement with the fledgling, re-building Silverton Miners, following the slated game between SHS and Trae Seibel’s C-team Bobcat boys. “And we thought … that there was going to be another [an all-girl] team. … That wasn’t the case!”
“You know, we don’t see Silverton all the time and you get a little mix in there with the co-ed,” said coach Dylaina Morelli. “It’s neat to play against them so you have to play against girls and boys. It’s a little bit of a challenge. But it was great to play a different team.”
Behind 11 points apiece from guards Isaiah Harrison and Brandon Bigleggins, Ignacio’s C-team boys had few problems in blasting the Miners by 31, 53 to 22, with Silverton center Will Custer (who hit 14-of-25 at the free-throw line) booking every one of his side’s points.
Hitting two three-pointers, guard Austin McCaw netted eight for the Cats, guard Xavier Reynolds totaled seven and center Joao Campos had seven—all in the first quarter—as well.
“But we keep our heads up, and with this team … even if we lose by 20, or how-many-ever points,” Custer said, “we’re going to keep our heads high, and the next game we’re going to … compete.”
And with Custer going off for another 20, compete SHS did—leading the IHS ladies 11-7 after one quarter thanks to eight Custer points, two from guard Alexis Gallegos and a free throw from forward Levi Lokey. But when Custer casually retreated to the bench with a bloodied nose, Lady Bobcat Alejandra Lujan was able to net six of her team-high 11 points to keep IHS close.
“I think she might have been the one who hit me in the face!” laughed Custer afterwards. “But she’s a really fierce competitor, and I think this also shows whether you play boys or girls … there’s going to be competitors. We knew coming in these girls were going to … compete as hard as we were.”
Two lay-ins by forward Ernesto Saldana kept Silverton just enough in the clear, and a late three-point play by Custer helped the Miners lead 20-13 at halftime. Helping the Lady Cats win the third quarter, 12 points to eight, Lujan gave Ignacio their lone lead (25-24) with 2:09 left before Miner guard Hannah deKay swiped it back with a layup at the other end before fouling out hustling with 1:26 left.
Silverton led just 28-25 heading into their night’s eighth frame of hoops, but a tense race to the finish never materialized; IHS managed just a Veronica Gonzales FT (a rarity in itself; Ignacio was a woeful 2-of-13 at the stripe), while the Miners got two Gallegos points and five from Custer in a 35-26 win.
“But they did a lot better; when we played [Dec. 10, the varsity of 1A] Shiprock [N.M.] Northwest it was no offense. … Try and score, try and score,” Morelli said. “Today they actually slowed it down … working their passes, working on their up-fakes and trying to go in, trying to communicate better: That was a whole different [Ignacio] team than the Shiprock game!”
“They kept asking me, ‘What’re we going to do? What’re we going to do?’ because the JV boys blew [Silverton] out,” she added. “I was like, ‘We’re going to run our plays! Because you need to work on running your plays!’ We need to focus on … getting those passes, swing the ball, hustling, rebounding.”
Selena Cook and Sharmaine Price each scored four points in the loss and Gonzales three.
“It takes everybody to do their part,” Archuleta (four points) said. “Our coach always says, ‘It’s not about the score; it’s about the journey.’ So win or lose we’re still … going to work together as a team.”