The Ignacio High School boys basketball team didn’t have its best performance for the first three quarters of the San Juan Basin League 2A District 3 tournament championship game, but that changed in the fourth quarter Saturday in Cortez.
Up 31-30 after the third quarter, the top-seeded Bobcats (17-4) shut out second-seed Mancos (15-6) in the fourth for a 45-30 victory, the tournament title and rights to host a regional tournament next weekend at IHS.
“At the beginning of the fourth when we were in our huddle,” IHS head coach Chris Valedez said, “I could see the look, especially in some of our seniors’ eyes, and Kruz Pardo in particular, that said, ‘We’re not going to let this one get away from us. Not now, not ever.’”
No. 6 IHS will open the regional tournament at 4:45 p.m. Friday against No. 27 Denver Christian (10-12). In the other regional semifinal in Ignacio, No. 11 Limon (16-5) will take on No. 22 Hotchkiss (14-8) at 8:15 p.m. Friday. The winner of the regional will advance to the final eight of the state tournament.
In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter Saturday, Pardo split through the middle of Mancos’ zone defense for a layup, Johnny Valdez hit a 3-pointer and Lawrence Valdez attacked the paint for a basket to send the Bobcats on a 14-0 run to victory.
Pardo led Ignacio with 15 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Lawrence Valdez finished with 10 points and four steals, Johnny Valdez had seven points, nine rebounds and six steals, and Kai Roubideaux added nine points and eight rebounds.
The Bobcats’ defense silenced Blue Jays big man Caden Showalter and held him to two made free throws and zero made field goals for only two points. He had been averaging 16.8 points per game.
Caleb Yoder led Mancos with 13 points.
“The big guy (Showalter), if we let him post up one-on-one, we don’t have a big guy that can stop him,” coach Valdez said. “So what we decided to do instead of man (defense), we went with our zone and a little bit of pressure to keep him out of the post, and then try to get a hand on Yoder. (Yoder) had 13 points and a couple of 3s, but to keep the big guy down to two points and keep them to 30 points as a team, I thought that was pretty good for our team defense.”
If the Bobcats can beat Denver Christian on Friday, they will play the regional championship at 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
Girls BasketballIgnacio 46, Dolores 11The Bobcats closed out the regular season unbeaten in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League, and Saturday they wrapped up the SJBL 2A District 3 tournament title, as the top-seed Ignacio High School girls basketball team defeated second-seed Dolores 46-11 in Cortez.
“Today, the girls brought an array of complete team defense,” IHS head coach Trae Seibel said. “The girls played on the outside with good perimeter defense and inside against the post. The team defense stepped up. ... It was a complete team win. The girls came in today and understood that if we win this district championship we get to host a regional and hopefully make some noise.”
The Bobcats (19-2) now turn their focus to next weekend’s regional tournament at IHS.
No. 8 Ignacio will host No. 25 Sanford (15-7) in its regional opener at 3 p.m. Friday. The winner will face No. 9 Denver Christian (17-4) and No. 24 Paonia (14-8) in the regional championship, with the winner going to the final eight of the state tournament. Denver Christian and Paonia will play at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The regional championship is set for 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
Last Saturday, the Bobcats moved the ball around on offense to open up gaps in the zone defense of Dolores (10-11) for open shots that they knocked down from both inside and outside.
Jayden Brunson, who had averaged 3.5 points per game this season, exploded for 14 points with four made 3-pointers to lead Ignacio’s scoring attack. Allisianna Baker-Marquez and Morgan Herrera added seven points each and Larissa Gallegos had six points.
Sarah Hamilton led Dolores with seven points, and Sierra Schwartz and Codi Archuleta had two points each.
“Right now, our mindset is focused on staying humble. We understand it’s not a given we will be in the state tournament,” Seibel said. “We’re humbled to be where we’re at and hosting a regional. We want to go out there and do our best, but we have to have the same mindset we’ve had all season, and that’s to stay hungry, stay driven and stay together.”