There are times in sports when the final total on the scoreboard doesn’t mean everything. For the Ignacio High School girls basketball team, that was the case Tuesday night against Durango.
The Colorado High School Activities Association Class 2A Bobcats (9-5, 6-1 2A District 3) went toe-to-toe with the talented 4A Durango girls team on the big stage at Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium. Ignacio gave the Demons (12-7, 2-2 4A/5A Southwestern League) all they could handle.
In the end, Durango’s Katrina Chandler and former Ignacio standout turned Durango transfer Hilda Garcia did enough down the stretch to secure a 36-30 win. Chandler was held in check for most of the night, but the DHS all-league star still led the way with 13 points. Garcia added 10 and nailed a dagger 3-pointer in the final minutes to put the game away.
“You have to give Ignacio a lot of credit with the defensive effort they played,” Durango head coach Tim Fitzpatrick said. “They played us tough, and our girls didn’t have their best night, but it was nice to see us stick with it and get the win.”
The big stage at Whalen Gymnasium may have contributed to some first-half jitters as the teams weren’t nearly as sharp offensively as the coaches would have liked.
Durango led by one point after the first quarter, but Ignacio came out in the second with four unanswered points to build a three-point lead. However, Durango answered back and led 15-11 at halftime.
The Demons came out in the second half and looked poised to take command after scoring the first four points. That wasn’t the case, though, as Bobcats’ guard Avionne Gomez caught fire to lead an 11-2 run that gave the gritty IHS girls the lead. Gomez scored all of her team-high 11 points in the second half, as she was tightly guarded by Chandler.
The teams exchanged baskets and were tied at 27 with a little more than 3 minutes remaining. Chandler buried two free throws to give the Demons a two-point lead, and Garcia extended the lead with a dagger of a 3-pointer from the corner that gave the Demons a five-point lead.
“I was super excited to play in this one, not to show out, but just to compete,” Garcia said. “I was surprised at how well they played us because we’ve played some big games and we play some big teams. It was a great game.”
Gomez answered Garcia’s bomb with a 3-pointer at the other end, but Chandler and the Demons put the game away at the foul line in the final minute.
“That’s a great 4A team, and we stayed right there with them,” a proud Ignacio head coach Shane Seibel said. “We proved that we can play with anyone. This is a big step for us.”
Taylor Edwards had eight points for Durango in the win. Ignacio freshman, and younger sister of Fort Lewis College legend Alex Herrera, pulled down 12 rebounds and chipped in eight points in what was a special night for her.
“When I walked in, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is Alex’s house,’” Herrera said. “That was nice, but to have us play such a good game was nice, too.”