The Durango High School boys basketball team knows the magic number its needs to reach if its going to pull out a win: 40 points.
Head coach Alan Batiste said it during the three-game losing streak, and his message got through Friday night as the Demons cruised to a 50-28 win over Grand Junction Central in a wire-to-wire victory Friday night inside the Demon Dome at DHS.
Durango (8-7, 1-1 5A/4A Southwestern League) had its largest margin of victory of the season and head coach Alan Batiste had a lot to say about his team’s offensive performance.
“Well, we went back to a page that we started the season with,” Batiste said. “We basically just said that on steals and rebounds, we’re going to let the kids just go, but being disciplined enough to come down and run the offense when that transition opportunity all of a sudden isn’t there. If we take three shots, we have to be patient and have a good shot on that fourth possession. It helped out tonight because we got some easy buckets in transition, but we also were patient enough, as well.”
Durango got off to an early lead in the first and led 7-2 after the first period. The offense would continue to stay hot as they took a double-digit lead when sophomore guard Jordan Woolverton converted a jumper to give DHS a 23-13 lead just before halftime. Earlier in the half Caleb Davis scored four points in the quarter for Central, but he was one of three players who scored for the Warriors. Meanwhile DHS forward Al Hurworth scored all seven of his points in the quarter. That would be the score as the teams went into the locker room.
The Warriors (3-11, 0-1 5A/4A Southwestern League) would not get it any closer than 10 in the second half.
“We executed really, well but we couldn’t get anything to go down,” said Grand Junction Central head coach Josh King. “It’s hard to play that hard all of the time and not see the ball go in the hoop. I don’t know what else to say; they executed the game-plan, got a lot of the looks we wanted, they played really good defense for the vast majority of the game, just couldn’t get it to go in the hoop.”
Anthony Flint got his 3-point shot going once again, and the freshman shooting specialist hit back-to-back beyond-the-arc shots to open the game up. The 3-pointers would be part of a 12-4 run that gave DHS a commanding lead 20-point lead.
“This week of practice was really hard, because coach stressed so much to us about moving without the ball, and not just standing around,” Flint said. “Once we moved the ball, we just had to think about working as a team, and so we were able to spread the floor and get some really good open looks. I just felt the past few games, I’ve kind of struggled, but, you’ve just gotta shoot it. Just keep stroking it, it’ll eventually go in.”
King thought that was the dagger that did the Warriors in.
“It was good defense, and 1-12 showed out and did a really good job of keeping them off of the offensive glass,” King said. “We had a couple of shots go down in our face, and that was part of that run. We had a 3-pointer rattle out and we missed a layup, and they came down to score six. That’s an 11-point swing right there, and if we limit that, we’re right in the game.”
DHS outscored the Warriors 32-16 in the second and third quarters to open up the flood gates.
Batiste said the start to the conference season reminded him of two years ago, when DHS lost its first two games, but stormed back to take the conference title with a six-game conference winning streak.
“We knew we had to get this win, and we’ve got to win at home, or at least compete and they were ready to play,” Batiste said. “When we went on that 3-game losing streak, we were just being hesitant. Tonight, I think you saw guys like Anthony any Cullen (Robinette) get back to their usual self. It’s still a long league, but a short league at that; we’re just going for it now.”
Durango was led by Flint, who finished with nine points, while Robinette and Woolverton had eight. Davis led Central with nine points while Tyrese Holder and Malachi Yeager had four a piece.
DHS will take on Montrose at 2 p.m. Saturday at DHS.