Second-ranked Cats pound Pagosa Springs by 23

Ignacio's Clayton Jefferson
Ignacio's Adison Jones
Ignacio's Clayton Jefferson (11) shoots in traffic over Pagosa Springs' Luke DeVooght (3) during the Bobcats' rout of the Pirates at home, Dec. 20.
Ignacio's Adison Jones (33) takes deadly aim for a shot over Pagosa Springs' Briar Erskine (12) during the Bobcats' rout of the Pirates at home, Dec. 20.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS 7-and-0 entering Durango, 2014

During the Bobcats’ opening 7-2 run, forcing opposing head coach Randy Sorenson into a timeout, junior Adison Jones already had booked two baskets, two rebounds and two assists.

During Ignacio’s closing 49-31 attack, Clayton Jefferson seemed to have everything else needed, and most importantly when it was needed, to help rout Pagosa Springs inside IHS Gymnasium on Friday, Dec. 20, and finish the 2013 half of their schedule a perfect 7-and-0.

“Clayton got hot early, hit a couple of shots. He’s the guy we use to … calm everybody’s nerves,” said skipper Chris Valdez. “Because he’s just a great shooter.”

Having started the game with an “and-one” bucket deserving of the displayed fist-pump, Jefferson poured in 24 points – one more than he’d achieved in Bloomfield, N.M., three nights before – to pace the Cats in a 56-33 victory over the reigning Class 3A champion Pirates.

Ignacio (7-0, 1-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) led 12-6 after one quarter, increased it to 19-10 in the second after two Wyatt Hayes-to-Nick Herrera connections, and led 28-16 at intermission, with Jefferson having already netted 14 points.

“From Bloomfield to now … we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal in Bloomfield, and tonight we just kept it on,” said Jones (8 points, 5 rebs.), who picked up his fourth foul with 0:43 left in the third, giving PSHS (3-4 overall, 0-0 3A Intermountain) a fragile window of opportunity.

“They were running kind of a five-motion offense, and we run the same thing sometimes,” Valdez said. “But it’s kind of a slow-down; they look for back-door cuts, they wait for good shots, and they did. If you look at the shot chart … they took shots right under the basket.”

But trailing 37-21 through 24 regulation minutes, Springs managed just one hoop apiece from junior Luke DeVooght (6 pts.), sophomore Briar Erskine (8 pts.) and junior Trey Spears (2 pts.) in the final frame, while Jefferson re-energized IHS with his closing 10 points.

Hayes (6 pts., 5 assists) and reserve guard Sam Corrado each came up with crucial steals from Pirate junior Tate Drane, leading to easy baskets at the other end and helping take some of the sting out of senior Kelton Richmond’s uncharacteristic 2-of-9 foul-shooting night.

“He’s our facilitator,” Valdez said of Hayes, a sophomore. “And whether he’s scoring or not, he’s either going to score or he’s going to make … plays happen – and that’s what his job is.”

“Wanted to win the fourth quarter because that’s where we’ve been having trouble in the past,” Jones said. “So I think we did a pretty good job this time.”

Herrera totaled six points, Richmond and Anthony Manzanares four each, and Justin Carver and Tucker Ward each scored two before reserve Xavier Reynolds corralled a game-ending defensive rebound.

“It was a good, satisfying win. We wanted to go undefeated heading into [Christmas] break,” Jones said. “And we’ve got Durango coming up … just got to get prepared. So a good win for us. Beating the defending state champions feels good.”

The Bobcats, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, face DHS inside the DemonDome Saturday, Jan. 11, with Alan Batiste’s team coming in 4-3 (0-0 4A/5A Southwestern) overall. After Durango, Ignacio’s schedule continues with a home SJBL game on Jan. 18 against Dove Creek and a Jan. 21 rematch with PSHS away.

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