Lady ’Cats seeking to develop knockout power

Ignacio’s Ebonee Gomez tries tapping a mid-air pass between Cedaredge’s Makayla Kehmeier (10) and Aspen Furubotten (25) and to a teammate during road action Saturday, Dec. 21.
While driving into the paint, Ignacio’s Larissa Gallegos (11) is accosted by Cedaredge’s Kammie Henderson (left) and Elizabeth Gilmore during road action Saturday, Dec. 21.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Loss at Cedaredge IHS’ third to top-tier foes

Familiar with her from last season’s encounter inside IHS Gymnasium, and that memory more or less refreshed by a solid effort – in a battle of two Class 3A unbeatens – witnessed just the night before, Kammie Henderson wasn’t the name concerning Ignacio head coach Justa Whitt prior to tipoff Dec. 21 at Cedaredge.

Upon her home court, as she’d been in a near-upset of La Jara-based Centauri – at the time No. 6 in the CHSAANow.com poll – not 24 hours earlier, the star would probably get hers no matter how closely monitored.

Instead, two other Lady Bruin regulars warranted worry.

And unfortunately performed up to Whitt’s expectations in a 48-35 victory.

“I was looking at Number Ten and Number Eleven – and Eleven, particularly; we knew we had to stop her from driving the ball,” she said, focusing on sophomore Megan Gastineau with an initial tip of her proverbial cap to senior Makayla Kehmeier.  “And if you look at the shot chart, we did some of that but we didn’t do enough of it.”

Ignacio’s Monika Lucero (20) tries shaking free from defense applied by Cedaredge’s Megan Gastineau during road action Saturday, Dec. 21.

Mixing point-guard mentality with toughness virtually inherent in a last name National Football League quarterbacks once feared, Gastineau’s repeated intrusions into the paint created numerous opportunities for herself and teammates alike, while also forcing IHS’ players to act out of system – junior guard Charlize Valdez would finish the game with four fouls, while senior forward/center Makayla Howell picked up her disqualifying fifth with 2:30 still remaining in the final frame.

Making things worse, junior center/forward Shelcie Gosney departed with what appeared to be a left knee injury only 11 seconds after Howell’s removal.

“That was a real bummer,” said Whitt.  “I hope it’s nothing super-serious, hope she can … come back o.k.  We’ll see.”

“Our girls played hard,” the skipper continued.  “We had a little bit of a lapse there in the fourth quarter, but they brought it.  They held them, had the lead for a good portion of the game, so that says a lot.”

Unluckily, however, an 11-10 lead gained during the opening eight regulation minutes slowly eroded; CHS broke a 16-16 second-quarter deadlock to go into halftime up 25-19, helped by a clutch Kehmeier three-pointer late, and the 2A No. 9 Lady ’Cats (2-3 overall) found themselves playing catch-up.

Up to the task, treys by junior guard Ebonee Gomez and sophomore guard Monika Lucero helped Ignacio win the third quarter by a 12-8 edge and go into the fourth down 33-31.  With 3:34 left in the third, IHS could have gained even more momentum when Henderson – who netted the Lady Bruins’ two field goals during the stanza – appeared to pick up her fifth foul.

However, an infraction just before intermission was removed from her line in the official scorebook and re-assigned to a player wearing No. 3 (Henderson sported No. 4) on her jersey.  No such player, however, existed on Cedaredge’s roster, making for a confusing situation never properly addressed.

Making lemonade out of that lemon, the Lady ’Cats managed to hold Henderson to just one more bucket the rest of the way.  Gastineau and Kehmeier – a relative/descendant of 1983 CHSCA Hall-of-Famer John ‘Jack’ Kehmeier, his name officially affixed to the CHS Track & Field Complex in March 2019, and 1992 CHSAA HOF inductee (as a participant) William ‘Bill’ Kehmeier – however, would not be denied; the duo combined for three baskets and 5-of-8 free-throw shooting during the fourth quarter, which the Lady Bruins claimed by a decisive 15-4 margin.

CHS (5-1 overall) made the most of their charity-stripe chances with 15-of-19 accuracy easily besting IHS’ 6-of-14.

Henderson finished with a game-high 16 points, while Gastineau booked 12 and Kehmeier eight.  Post player Elizabeth Gilmore came off the bench to contribute six, including four vital FTs in as many tries during CHS’ sluggish third quarter.

In a 52-45 loss to Centauri – Cedaredge entered the non-league test having allowed only 79 points in four outings while posting 226 – Kehmeier had netted 11 points while Henderson chipped in ten and Gastineau nine.  Gilmore also threatened to reach double figures with her nine points, but Whitt had a sense that like in previous battles with high-caliber foes 2A Limon and 4A Kirtland, N.M., Central, her squad (which outshot CHS 3-1 from downtown) could still hang.

“We came and watched that game last night, once we got here … so I know that helped us, definitely, to know what we were up against,” she said.  “I think that they were tired – they’d just played a tough game … against a tough team – and we could have capitalized a little more on that.”

Howell finished with eight points, while first-half catalyst Avaleena Nanaeto and Gomez each finished with seven.  Gosney fought for four points, while Lucero, Valdez, and senior forward Larissa Gallegos each logged three.

“We’ve just got to work more on our transitions, on our offense, really get those things rolling better and I think that we’ll be on the right track,” Whitt said. “Turnovers … they did better with that.  It’s just that crazy luck of the draw sometimes.”

“Of course we’d like to see some wins from these big games, but they’re definitely improving along the way.  And the whole goal is to keep improving a little each time, learn from our mistakes and … be at the right place in March.  These are the type of things that will help us get there.”

Up next, Ignacio will resume play Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, traveling to Dove Creek for a 2A/1A San Juan Basin League challenge from a Lady Bulldogs squad standing 5-2 overall (and also 1-0 SJBL).  Most recently, Julie Kibel’s crew dropped a physical 41-32 game to 1A Montezuma Creek, Utah, Whitehorse on Day 1 of the Dec. 20-21 Bulldog Classic, but bounced back on Day 2 and saved third place by routing the 4A Durango JV 62-23.

WHS improved to a reported 9-2 overall by hammering SJBLers Nucla 63-28 in the Classic’s championship.

After Dove Creek, IHS will host 3A Alamosa on the 11th, then visit non-league 2A Del Norte on Thursday, Jan. 16.

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