When the Bayfield High School boys basketball team won the Class 3A Intermountain League title last season, it snapped a 25-year drought. The Wolverines didn’t have to wait another 25 years for their next league title.
Bayfield wrapped up its second league title in a row Saturday night with a 57-53 win against top-seeded Alamosa on the Mean Moose’s home floor.
“I’m so proud of them. To beat Alamosa at Alamosa hasn’t been done by anybody in a long time,” BHS head coach Jeff Lehnus said. “To do it in a setting like this, on their floor, and to beat them two years in a row, we keep progressing and it’s a great time for it.”
Bayfield (14-7) earned the right to host a regional tournament for the first two rounds of the state playoffs. The No. 7 Wolverines will open with No. 26 Brush (14-9), and with a win would face the winner of No. 10 Resurrection Christian (16-6) and No. 23 The Academy (16-6). It is possible BHS and Alamosa (18-3) could meet again in the state quarterfinals March 8 in Denver.
Saturday’s victory came with the Wolverines down a starter, as McKay Wells missed the game with an ankle injury he suffered in Friday’s win against Monte Vista.
Bayfield jumped out to an early lead and held a 19-12 advantage after the first quarter.
The Mean Moose charged back in the second and took a 24-21 lead before the Wolverines scored the final six points of the quarter to take a 27-24 lead into halftime.
Neither team could create much separation in the third quarter, and Bayfield hit a 3-pointer – one of eight in the game for the Wolverines – late in the quarter that sent the game to the fourth with BHS on top 41-36.
Alamosa got it back to a single-possession game early in the fourth quarter, and neither side gained more than a three-point lead until the Wolverines sank a couple free throws at the end to secure the four-point victory.
“Our whole moniker was ‘finish.’ Our key word was ‘finish,’ and we did it tonight,” Lehnus said.
Three Wolverines finished in double-figure scoring. Hayden Farmer led the way with 14 points, and he hit a couple key 3s in the fourth quarter. Ryan Phelps finished with 11 points to go with 10 rebounds, and Dax Snooks, who provided an offensive spark in the first quarter, ended with 13 points and eight rebounds.
A year ago, Bayfield hosted a regional but was upset in the first round by Delta.
“I think we will be very motivated,” Lehnus said. “Last year at our place, we all know what happened. We played a Delta team that got hot. We fought like mad but didn’t pull it off. It’s neat to have the opportunity to erase that memory.”
Girls BasketballAlamosa 45, Bayfield 29One quarter may have cost the Bayfield High School girls basketball team a third-place finish, as the team fell to Alamosa 45-29 Saturday in the 3A Intermountain League tournament, but it couldn’t erase what the Wolverines did this year.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Josh Kitchen, the Wolverines ended the season 7-15 overall – the most wins in a season for the program since 2013-14.
“I’m incredibly proud of our girls. They all stepped up,” Kitchen said. “For some of these girls, they’ve had three different head coaches in four years, so it was a big culture change and a shift. We’re definitely young, but we had some great leadership from our seniors and we have some good leaders coming up from our junior class. We have a really awesome group of girls who are willing to come to the gym and work hard. I could not be more proud of this group, and I think this was a really successful season.”
After the first quarter against the Mean Moose (14-8), Bayfield trailed 10-7. But in the second quarter, the Wolverines struggled against Alamosa’s full-court man-to-man defense and were held to two points in the quarter and trailed 24-9 at halftime. “We had a good first quarter, but they had a big second quarter,” Kitchen said. “They switched up their defense and went full-court man-to-man on us, and it frazzled the girls a little bit. It took a little bit to calm down, but by that point, it was pretty much halftime.
“In the third quarter, we slowed them down and started to push back a little bit, but at that point, they had a good lead on us. They’re a well-composed team and hit some key shots on us to keep that lead.”
Freshman Kira Riley led BHS with 16 points. Kitchen said Riley’s offensive outburst was the result of her outworking the defense and playing hard the entire time she was on the floor.
Bayfield will say goodbye to two seniors – Tiarra Christensen and Cinnaman Varnell – from this season’s roster. With the bulk of the roster set to return, the future for Bayfield girls basketball is bright.
“We’re continuing to change the culture and that takes time. Next year, I think we’re capable of putting up some more wins, but at the same time, this is a growth process and it’s not all about the wins. I think our future is bright. I’m excited for what we’re going to do, and hopefully next year, we’ll have a higher seed in the IML tournament.”