The Durango High School boys basketball team put together a strong outing in its second game against Shiprock High School, but the end result was the same, as the Demons fell to the Chieftains 60-42 on Tuesday night at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.
“It was a lot closer than that,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said of the score. “I’m proud of the boys tonight. We tried some new stuff that we haven’t done all season and the boys executed it. But turnovers again haunted us, and we gave up a lot of easy buckets in transition.”
When the two teams met in December at the Marv Sanders Invitational in Farmington, Shiprock (10-8) came away with a 59-51 victory. In that meeting, the Chieftains’ half-court defense created problems for the Demons (2-9), but Tuesday night the Demons had success in the halfcourt but struggled against the fast-paced full-court press of the Chieftains.
The Chieftains held a 12-6 lead after the first quarter and maintained a 10-point advantage for most of the second for a 29-19 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Shiprock grew its lead into the teens before the Demons went on an 8-0 run to get the deficit to single digits. But once Durango’s run ended, Shiprock went on an 8-0 of its own and pushed the lead to 49-33 at the end of the quarter.
Cullen Robinette led the Demons with 11 points, Seth Johnson added 10 points and Quelan Mestas had eight.
A bright spot of the Demons was their defense. They implemented a 2-3 zone for the first time this season and had success slowing down the Chieftains and executed their full-court press to success.
“We tried out a new 2-3 and our press. We’ve run the press a couple of times this season, but we stayed in it and the boys were disciplined with it. I was really proud of them,” Batiste said. “With the 2-3 zone, (Shiprock) struggled a little bit against it. They got hot from 3 and hit some in transition, but overall I was proud of what our boys did.”
The Demons will open 5A/4A Southwestern League play this weekend. They’ll play Friday at Grand Junction Central (5-9, 0-1 SWL) and Saturday at Fruita Monument (9-6, 1-1 SWL).