The Ignacio High School basketball team put on a show for a packed gym at IHS and are now a win away from advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state basketball playoffs.
The No. 6 Bobcats rode the energy of the crowd and earned a 65-42 victory against No. 27 Denver Christian in the first round of the Region 6 tournament Friday.
“That might be the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen out here,” Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez said. “I think we got a really good boost (from the crowd).”
The Bobcats started well and built a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter, then doubled the advantage in the second quarter for a 35-21 halftime lead on the Thunder (10-13).
“That 14-point lead gave us a little room to breathe,” Valdez said.
“We got up 19 going into the fourth quarter that gave us a chance to rest a few people, which is always good. (Denver Christian) didn’t really push the pace very much, so even when we were playing defense it was a little slower.”
Offensively, the Bobcats found success in their half-court sets, and when the opportunity to push the tempo presented itself, they took advantage.
On the defensive end, Valdez said the team did a good job cutting off the Thunder’s attempts to penetrate and attack the lane and the Bobcats played solid team defense.
Lawrence Valdez led the Bobcats with 17 points to go with four assists, four rebounds and five steals.
Kai Roubideaux, who has been working his way back from injury and illness, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Johnny Valdez added 13 points, eight assists and four steals, and Ocean Hunter chipped in eight points and grabbed eight boards.
The Bobcats will face No. 11 Limon (17-5), which beat No. 22 Hotchkiss (14-9) 66-53, in the regional final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at IHS.
“They’re going to be a tough, tough draw,” coach Valdez said.
“They’re fast. They’ve got some good shooters and they transition really well down the floor. We’ve got a lot of work to prepare for them, but we got to see them play, which is the best thing there is.
“We know what they do and who does what for them, so we’ll do our best to counteract what they try to do.”