Three teams going opposite directions took to the SunUte Community Center court the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17, but only one looks to still be going anywhere in the near future.
And it’s neither Mancos nor Telluride.
Try … the ‘I.’ As in Ignacio, the new bully on the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League’s block.
Powered by super-sub Avionne Gomez’s two three-point plays in the first frame against experience-challenged, injury-hampered MHS, leading to her game-high 18 points, the Lady Bobcats led 11-3 after eight minutes and 26-6 through sixteen en route to an easy 53-24 Friday evening conquest.
“The last three minutes of the second quarter, they just took it over,” lamented Lady Jays head coach Mallory Morgan. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”
But at least they had something going; THS, to the amazement of most, had nearly nothing headed into halftime of their Saturday evening visit.
IHS freshman Hilda Garcia picked up where she’d left off against Mancos, following an eight-point fourth quarter one night with a seven-point first the next, and junior Ellie Seibel, who’d managed five points versus the blue-and-white, blew up for ten in the opening stanza versus the maroon-and-white as the Lady ’Cats (7-3, 4-0 SJBL) stormed out to an awesome 30-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Like I tell my team … you don’t know who it’s going to be on every given night, who the leading scorer is,” said IHS head coach Shane Seibel. “They’re very supportive of one another … love to play the game, and they encourage whomever has the hot hand!
And only Seibel could control the burn; inserting his second string during the second quarter, IHS’ roll slowed to a 43-6 pace at halftime, 59-10 through three quarters and 63-20 when all was mercifully said and done with every supporter in the house doing mental mathematics of the blowout’s potential severity.
“I thought our defense really stepped up,” Seibel had said after the former victory, accurately summarizing the latter. “We got some steals which led to some easy baskets, and which got our offense going a little bit!”
Mancos junior Jessica Gutierrez began the third quarter of the Lady Jays’ loss with two free throws, but two Gomez buckets and one by Seibel in quick succession – for a 32-8 lead – sufficiently shocked MHS, which got no closer than 38-20 early in the fourth (when Gomez recorded no points) on a trey by senior Taylor Goff.
Garcia totaled 13 points, senior Sky Cotton scored seven, sophomore Alejandra Lujan six, and juniors Cortney Baker and Selena Cook each booked two. Sophomore Nicole Hess paced Mancos (2-6, 0-3) with ten, Gutierrez totaled eight, Goff five and senior Andie Paschal, wracked ankle and all, managed just one.
Garcia again went for 13 versus Telluride, and Ellie Seibel finished with twelve points. Senior Amya Bison came off the bench to drop seven, Lujan netted six, Cotton five, and Gomez completed an outstanding home stand with ten.
“Avionne … shot a high percentage, made her free throws,” Shane Seibel said, “and her focus…was sharper than I have seen it all year long. That’s the big difference, learning.”
Sophomore Whitney Wells led the Lady Miners (0-6, 0-5) with nine points, hitting seven of eight FT tries, Briana Santa Ana had four points from six charity-stripe trips, and reserve Jerrica Steger canned a late three-pointer.
Up next for Ignacio are road games in Dove Creek on Jan. 23 and Dolores on Jan. 30, with the rematch against MHS then following February 3rd inside the Mancos Performance Center.
“We’re focused on what we do best,” Seibel said. “Our defense, and let that become our offense. Then in the half-court set, just be patient and work the ball around for an open shot.”