BAYFIELD – Micaela Knickerbocker saw momentum heading up the court.
The Bayfield High School senior stepped in front of the Pagosa Springs pass, stole the basketball – and the momentum – and headed for the BHS basket.
“As soon as I got the steal and made the basket, the momentum in me and everyone started picking up,” Knickerbocker said of fourth-quarter steal and basket that fueled a dramatic yet futile comeback bid against the No. 7 ranked Pagosa Springs girls.
“The crowd started getting loud ... we felt like we could do it,” Knickerbocker said of the Bayfield rally that cut a 14-point lead midway through the fourth quarter to only two points with 33 seconds to play.
Chanel McCloskey contributed a putback basket for the Wolverines.
Destini McGhehey added a steal and a driving layup.
McGhehey scored again off a pass from McCloskey after a rebound by Andrea Lahoz.
Kirby Brown contributed a basket off a Lahoz assist.
And Knickerbocker pulled down a crucial rebound for the Wolverines, drawing a foul.
When Knickerbocker’s foul shot rolled out, Jaida Ross collected the rebound and hit a bank shot to pull the Wolverines within 36-34 – as close as they had been since the opening minute of play.
The Wolverines, however, would not score in the final half-minute while Pagosa Springs converted 6 of 9 foul shots for the final 42-34 margin of victory in the Intermountain League game.
“We could have easily given up there,” Knickerbocker said. “We were down 14 or 15 points ... but we pushed through it.”
She said the Wolverines put themselves in a tough situation when they were outscored 19-8 by Pagosa Springs in the decisive third quarter.
“We just need to work on our press breaker for their full-court press,” said Knickerbocker, who finished with eight points.
McGhehey also scored eight for the Wolverines (7-5, 1-1 IML).
“If we can work out the little kinks, we can beat them the next time,” said Knickerbocker, the daughter of Kirk and Marie Knickerbocker.
“We shouldn’t have had to come back (from that far),” Bayfield head coach Ronnie Posey said.
“I don’t think it was their pace (in the third quarter), I think our pace just quit,” he said of the third period when the Pirates went from a two-point deficit to a nine-point lead.
Junior Emily Bryant keyed the Pirates’ surge with eight points, two assists and a steal.
Bryant led the Pirates with 12 points.
Shahan and Lucero scored 11 each for Pagosa Springs (10-2, 1-1 IML).
“In the third quarter, we came out and kept giving it back to them,” Posey said. “Because they play such good defense, you know it will be a low-scoring game.”
He said when the Wolverines struggled to score in the third quarter, “it affected our defense.”
“I’m encouraged because I think we can play a full game against them next time,” Posey said.