It was essentially a two-man show for the Durango High School boys basketball team Tuesday night at Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium against Ignacio.
Seniors Kyle Kirkpatrick and Steven Wyman combined to score 33 of the team’s 43 points, as Durango beat Ignacio 43-35. Kirkpatrick led the charge for Durango with 17 points and Wyman added 16 in the win.
“That’s not what we want to happen,” Durango head coach Alan Batiste said, “but that’s the way it’s been happening. There’s still some things that need to be cleaned up, but we got another win and we’re happy with that.”
Kirkpatrick got the Demons (15-3, 2-2 4A/5A Southwestern League) off to a fast start, and they never trailed the remainder of the evening. The senior scored five quick points to build an 11-3 advantage early in the game for Durango.
The Bobcats (10-4, 8-0 2A District 3) rattled off an 8-2 run to get back to within a basket, but Kirkpatrick’s 10 first-half points carried Durango to a 25-20 halftime lead.
Though the Bobcats did well to keep it close, the Demons were just too big, too fast and too sharp. Slowly, DHS pulled away in the second half. The Demons led by as much as nine in the third quarter and carried a 35-27 advantage into the final 8 minutes.
Wyman’s versatility allowed him to handle the ball at half court and score inside when the opportunity presented itself, which was difficult for Ignacio to stop. The big man scored at will late, and Kirkpatrick converted from the foul line with ease to put the game out of reach.
“It wasn’t our best game, but whether it’s a 2A team or a 5A team, we feel like the two of us can carry the load,” Kirkpatrick said of Wyman and himself.
Said Wyman: “Kyle is such a good shooter and he can handle the ball like a true point guard. Either of us can have a big game on any given night, so we think we can take it all the way to state.”
Johnny Valdez led Ignacio with 13 points. Though IHS came up short, the Bobcats kept it close for much of the game and shut down the remainder of the Demons. Kirkpatrick and Wyman presented a combination that doesn’t come along very often on the Bobcats’ schedule.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of,” Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez said. “They came out and got a big lead, but we fought back and stayed right with them for a while. We don’t see many guys who can handle the ball and dominate inside like Wyman was, but we have to learn how to stop guys like that because there are a few we’ll end up seeing in the playoffs.”