Team edges Silverton ending ’14
The running-clock format already working against her team, guard Hannah deKay – a relative of former IHS Wrestling boss Chris deKay – knew that with only 18 seconds remaining she’d likely have but one chance to get the co-ed Silverton varsity its first lead since forward Luis Castro’s game-opening free throw.
“Nailbiting,” was her postgame description of the final moments on Dec. 19, ending the 2014 half of the visiting Miners’ schedule. “It was just like, ‘Oh my God we’re almost there!’ So intense, the pressure was so high – you could cut the tension with a pair of scissors, it was so tight.”
With Castro having cleaned up an Edgar Avitia miss just a few ticks earlier, cutting the Ignacio Lady Bobcat JV’s lead – once as great as 17-5 in the third quarter after a Destaney Reynolds three-pointer and a long Tori Archuleta two – down to 20-19, the diminutive deKay made her move when it appeared Archuleta had exposed the ball too much after dribbling into the offensive end.
“Do it,” was her simple recollection of that instant’s thinking. “Go for it. It’s almost over; just do it!”
Unfortunately for SHS there was some excessive ‘Nike’ in deKay’s bid for a steal, and Archuleta was sent to the foul line where she canned both ends of the 1-and-1 bonus – despite Miner coach Larry Gallegos trying to ice her with a timeout between the charity tosses – to secure a 22-19 win inside SunUte Community Center.
“It felt really good, because our whole team worked together,” Archuleta said, whose eight points equaled Castro’s and Avitia’s for the game-high count. “Without my team I wouldn’t have gotten those free throws. We worked together as a team, and that’s all that matters.”
“We worked hard,” she continued. “Last night [versus Dolores] was a big game – we only lost by two [33-31] – but it felt good tonight because we played together and hustled. We were really tired, but we pulled through.”
“It’s our first … real win of the season, and it feels really good to get it!” said teammate Sidney Cox. “This was a day where we wanted to fix our mistakes from last night, and just play our hardest. We wanted to beat them!”
The Lady Cats had led 6-1 after the first quarter and 12-3 after the second, but Silverton, taking advantage of the enemy’s more complacent rebounding, managed to cut the deficit down to 17-10 entering the fourth. Hinting that the contest’s finish would be thrilling, deKay’s only made basket – with 2:02 left in the third – was waved off due to a traveling violation, and fans of both sides booed the ruling.
“It’s always good to have the family support,” deKay laughed. “And I try to, like, have fun with it and know this is almost my hometown, so it’s o.k. to play hard. I just kind of push it out of my mind … and keep going.”
“We were so ready to win, and they [Ignacio] did great,” said SHS’ Alexis Gallegos. “At halftime we had a little pep talk … changed out a few players who were really tired, and just kicked it in. Put the pressure on them.”
“It was crazy because this is the closest game that we have had,” she added. “We really pushed it, gave them a run for their money, I think … throughout the second half even though we still lost.”
“At first a few of us were a little scared,” Archuleta said, of the unusual experience in Colorado of a girls’ junior-varsity squad facing a co-ed varsity. “But some of us who played last year were just, like, ‘Well we’re going to be playing bigger and tougher teams … just like them,’ so we decided not to let it get to us and we did it!”
“When you see big guys running at you, and you’re like, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to block them?’ it’s terrifying,” quipped Cox. “Especially being one of the shortest people on the team!”
Reynolds finished with seven points for IHS, Rachel Cooper netted three, and Krissy Velasquez and Isis Gonzales each scored two. Talitha Gallegos’ third-quarter ‘and-one’ accounted for the Miners’ other three points.
“They got a lot quicker, they have a lot more people on their team,” Archuleta added, “but we didn’t let that get to us. We just went out there and played with heart, and…came out with a victory.”
NOT A SOLE SPECTACLE
Likely unbeknownst to the Front Range in its existence, Silverton is in fact not the only co-ed varsity – technically classified as a ‘boys’ team – active this winter in Colorado.
David Tesitor reported in the Huerfano World-Journal’s Dec. 11 issue that the Aguilar Wildcats (Class 1A) were forced to combine forces not long before the season began, just so their season would begin. SHS, unfortunately, does not appear on AHS’ schedule. At least until one hears of the other, that is.