Advertisement

Ignacio boys basketball overcomes Durango, heavy hearts

|
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 4:46 PM
Ignacio High School head coach Chris Valdez calls out a play while playing Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gymnasium at Fort Lewis College. He coached the game moments after learning about the death of his father, Sylvia Taylor Valdez.
Johnny Valdez of Ignacio High School puts up a shot against Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gymnasium at Fort Lewis College. Valdez scored 10 points in the win in a game played moments after he learned of the death of his grandfather, Sylvia Taylor Valdez.
Kruz Pardo of Ignacio High School passes the ball inside while playing Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.
Cullen Robinette of Durango High School drives the lane against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.
Ocean Hunter of Ignacio High School puts up a shot against Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.
Clay Seibel of Durango High School plays defense against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.
Seth Johnson of Durango High School puts up a shot against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.
Durango High School and Ignacio High School fight to gain control of the ball on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College.

A loss would have been understandable for the Ignacio High School boys basketball team Tuesday night at Whalen Gymnasium on the Fort Lewis College campus.

The Bobcats were without two starters, as Kai Roubideaux was out with a knee injury and Lawrence Valdez is academically ineligible, and shortly before the tipoff against Durango High School the team learned head coach Chris Valdez’s father and the grandfather of senior guard Johnny Valdez, Sylvia Taylor Valdez, had passed away.

But the Bobcats came together and held off the resilient Demons for a 56-51 victory.

“You know, it really wasn’t hard,” coach Vadlez said of coaching the game. “My dad, I remember as a kid running cross-country and track and basketball. Every time I left, if he couldn’t come to the game he would say, ‘Hey son, win one for me today. Get out there.’ My dad is a good man. We honored him with a win.

“Johnny hit two 3s and they were both off the glass. Gramps was like, ‘You gotta have one or two,’ and pushed them in.”

Johnny Valdez is the nephew of coach Valdez, but the impact of the loss was felt by more than the two Valdez men.

“The things we deal with in our locker room, we’re a family in there. We’re all brothers and care for each other,” Ignacio senior Kruz Pardo said. “Whenever somebody is down, we look for other people to step up. Just because we have freshmen playing, it doesn’t make them any less than our seniors we have playing. We’re missing our two leading scorers on the season, so we just had to go out there and play how we know how to play and bring it home for the people dealing with struggles at home.”

In what has been a frustrating season for the Demons offensively, the first quarter was one of their toughest stretches, as the team failed to score in the opening quarter and trailed 12-0.

But the struggles were quickly erased and the Demons (3-15) went on a 12-0 run during the opening three minutes of the quarter to tie the game.

“We came out flat and were going through the motions, and we’re not good enough to do that,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said.

“Once we started getting some intensity and attacking the lane things opened up and we got some easy buckets.”

Durango kept the run going and took a 14-12 lead before Johnny Valdez banked in a 3-pointer with a little more than three minutes remaining that gave the lead back to the Bobcats (11-3).

It was the Bobcats only basket of the quarter, and the Demons took a 20-15 advantage into halftime.

The Demons kept the offense rolling in the third, and the Bobcats got back into a rhythm with the two teams trading baskets through much of the quarter.

“We went back into the locker room and talked about fundamentals,” Pardo said of the Bobcats’ halftime adjustments.

“Dribbling, making better passes, not trying to dribble through crazy defenses. We took better care of the ball in the second half.”

Ignacio took a 38-34 lead into the fourth quarter, and took control of the fourth while the Demons ran out of juice – for a bit.

The Bobcats built their lead to 45-34 before the Demons came charging back and got the deficit to 47-41 with 1:53 to go after a Seth Johnson and-1.

But Ignacio answered back immediately with a successful and-1 from freshman Dylan Labarth with 1:44 that put the lead to 50-41.

The back-and-forth continued, as the Demons answered with five quick points to make it 50-46 with 55.8 seconds remaining, but the Bobcats converted at the free-throw line to secure the victory.

Cole McCaw led the Bobcats with 14 points, Pardo finished with 12 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line, and Johnny Valdez had 10 points.

Johnson led all scorers with 23 points for the Demons, and Cullen Robinette added 10 points.

Durango (1-4 5A/4A Southwestern League) will host Fruita Monument (14-7, 5-1 SWL) on Friday, while the Bobcats (8-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) head to Telluride to take on the Miners (6-8, 5-3 SJBL).

kschneider@durangoherald.com

Gallery: Durango High School boy's basketball take on Ignacio

Kruz Pardo of Ignacio High School puts up a shot against Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Durango High School and Ignacio High School fight to gain control of the ball on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Kruz Pardo of Ignacio High School passes the ball inside while playing Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Durango High School and Ignacio High School fight to gain control of the ball on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Johnny Valdez of Ignacio High School tries to steal the ball from Durango High School’s Clay Seibel on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Durango High School and Ignacio High School fight to gain control of the ball on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Seth Johnson of Durango High School puts up a shot against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Seth Johnson of Durango High School grabs a loose ball ahead of Ignacio High School’s Johnny Valdez on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
The Durango High School bench cheers on their teammates while playing Ignacio High School on Tuesday in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Ignacio High School’s Bryce Finn scoops up a loose ball while playing Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Cullen Robinette of Durango High School puts up a shot against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Clay Seibel of Durango High School pulls up for a jump shot against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Durango High School head coach Alan Batiste, left, encourages his players while playing Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Seth Johnson of Durango High School plays defense against Ignacio High School’s Kruz Pardo on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Ignacio High School head coach Chris Valdez calls out a play while playing Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Johnny Valdez of Ignacio High School puts up a shot against Durango High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Cullen Robinette of Durango High School drives the lane against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Will Meyer of Durango High School looks to pass the ball against Ignacio High School on Tuesday night in Whalen Gym at Fort Lewis College. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Advertisement