The Bobcats want yet another long basketball season in 2010-11.
The Ignacio High School boys basketball team played two very long seasons in the past two years. The Bobcats advanced through District and Regional play and into the State Basketball Championships as a Class 2A school in back-to-back years.
After finishing fourth at the state tournament in Pueblo two years ago, the Ignacio boys finished as the state runner-up last season all the while posting a 21-3 record.
Even though a bundle of players are gone from last years state finalists, including 6-9 all-state center Alex Herrera who is at Fort Lewis College, the Bobcats return two all-conference players and a handful of players with experience from the last two long seasons.
Ryan Brooks and Pedro Vigil ... they are our captains. Theyve been to the state tournament, and theyve played in those games, said Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez, the San Juan League Coach of the Year last season.
Brooks, a 6-6 senior, and Vigil, a 5-9 senior, both were all-league selections last season.
And Shane Richmond ... he got to the state tournament. Hes got some low-post moves. He can score down low, Valdez said.
With Shane and Ryan, we have some experience in the paint, Valdez said. Richmond, 6-3, is a senior.
Out front, Vigil will handle the ball along with returnees Deion Hudson and Jay Black.
They are pretty athletic. And they can play physical defense, said the longtime Ignacio head coach, in his 11th season.
Valdez said the Bobcats will mix in a couple of freshman, who played on the league champion Ignacio Middle School team last season.
Kelton Richmond, Shanes younger brother, will see varsity time as a freshman as will Clayton Jefferson.
Theyve played a lot of basketball, the Ignacio head coach said.
Valdez unveiled the new Bobcats a week ago at the Kirtland Central Tournament in New Mexico. The Bobcats won their first two games before falling to San Juan High School of Blanding, Utah, in the tournament championship game.
The game marked Ignacios first apppearance in the Kirtland Central tourney title game since 1984, when Chris Valdez was a standout player for the Bobcats.
This group has picked things up quickly, Valdez said of the new edition Bobcats.
Weve already got every single play in (the offense) from last year, he said, adding that the new Bobcats appear to be a more patient team than last years squad that dominated opponents.
This group is patient. They have to be patient, he said.
Last years team could beat defenders at nearly any time. But this year, Valdez said, we are running our plays.
He said the Kirtland Central Tournament helped him see where the Bobcats stand early in the season.
We learned some things, Valdez said. We need to open our rotation a little and get in better shape.
The Bobcats (2-1) will host their home opener tonight when Dolores visits the Ignacio High School gym for a conference game.
The boys varsity game at 7 p.m. will follow the girls varsity game.
Tonights game is the first of three league games in the next week for Ignacio.
The Bobcats will make the road trip to Ridgway and Ouray for games on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Saturdays game will be the final one of 2010. Ignacio will resume the schedule Jan. 6-8 at the Aztec Tournament.
At the end of the regular season, the District Championships will be played at Dove Creek.
If they advance, the Bobcats then would play in the Class 2A Regionals at Durango High School, a friendly and close venue where the Bobcats won the Regional title a year ago.
Weve got to win Districts, Valdez said. That would give us a fantastic opportunity to play in Durango.