The Ignacio High School girls basketball team’s press defense was simply sensational Tuesday night against Dolores in the home opener for IHS.
The Bobcats forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter alone and 23 in the first half en route to a convincing 63-8 win against the Bears in their first 2A/1A San Juan League Basin conference game of the season. The Bears finished with 42 turnovers with 23 steals from Ignacio.
Ignacio (2-1, 1-0 SJBL) attacked the post immediately, as it got a quick three-point play from Makayla Howell. The Bobcats then pressed, forced a steal out of a trap and didn’t stop.
Ignacio’s full-court press caused the Bears (1-2) all sorts of problems with eight first-quarter steals that led to a 26-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Heading into the season, we knew we could have been one of the best stealing teams in the state, and today I think you saw a big reason as to why,” IHS head coach Justa Whitt said. “Really, we wanted to work on our defense after this past weekend, and to only allow them six first-half points says a lot.”
IHS continued to swarm the Bears on defense in the second quarter and outscored Dolores 15-4 to build a 35-point halftime lead.
Dolores committed 23 first-half turnovers. Howell single-handedly outscored the Bears by halftime, as she had nine points while the Bears had six as a team.
“Offense was really fun, but our defense was where it’s at,” Howell said.
“If we play defense like we should, the results should be like that. I think, in the first half, it was a reason why we were able to get out to such a big lead. We pressed, and the steals said a lot tonight. We can only get better.”
The third quarter would only get worse for the Bears, as they were held scoreless and committed 10 more turnovers, Ignacio extended its lead to 54-6, and Jayden Brunson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to extend the lead.
Three Bobcats finished with nine points, as Howell, Shlecie Gosney and Charlize Valdez led the way for the Bobcats. Brunson finished with eight points, while Monika Lucero finished with seven.
Howell said her team was fired up after the Limon Invitational last weekend.
“It was good to come out the way that we did because we saw how good Limon was, and we know those are the teams we will be playing against down the later stretch of the season,” Howell said.
“Tonight was fun because of the way we played. However, we know that not every team will be like this. This was an awesome way to start the conference season, but we know there’s a long way to go.”
Whitt was more than pleased with the way her Bobcats started the league season.
“We got fired up and were ready to go for conference, and I think this could be a great start and is exactly where we want to be,” Whitt said.
The Bobcats will hit the road for their next game at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at Kirtland Central in New Mexico.