IGNACIO - Dylana Morelli powered her way to 20 points as the visiting Mancos girls soared past Ignacio 53-35 on Friday night. The Bluejays (5-3 overall, 1-0 District play) jumped out to an early lead behind a hard-charging defensive effort that was undeterred in spite of several offensive adjustments from the Bobcats (0-3, 0-1).
Ignacio was competitive for the first 4 minutes of the first quarter, but the Bobcats' second unit was unable to withstand the relentless pressure of senior leader Daria Morelli and the Bluejay press, as the first period finished 14-6 Mancos.
Daria's sister Dylana took over in the second, scoring eight points during a 12-0 run for a comfortable 30-14 lead at the half.
"That pretty much set us behind," said Ignacio head coach Brice Searles. "She scored pretty much at will inside, and we were playing defensively behind her. We talked about her at halftime and tried to make some adjustments. I think we did a little better job in the second half than we did in the first, but she really is an aggressive rebounder and a really good player."
Senior forward Rocio Garcia scored eight points in limited playing time, recovering from two major reconstructive surgeries to her left knee.
Garcia sparked a 12-0 Ignacio run in the fourth quarter that brought life to the bench and hope for the team's progress.
"Rocio's battling back from a severe knee injury where she had to have two major reconstructive surgeries on that left knee," Searles said. "She's really battling to even play right now. She is coming along and we just have to keep an eye on how that knee keeps up for her."
Searles credited his team's persistent effort and was pleased with the momentum Ignacio gained during the late surge.
"Our girls are just going to have to learn how to start the game the way they finished it," he said.
"We really need to work on functioning as a unit and realizing how to read the defense and play together more. I think our girls are still working on a lot of mental blocks that they have as far as what they've done in the past. This is a whole brand-new system that they're trying to learn, and we're still trying to make some adjustments. But overall, each game we're getting a little bit better."
Daria Morelli ended with 9 points and Skyler Stevens scored 8. Guard Kendra Cox assisted on seven Mancos buckets.
Leading the way with active hands and tenacious defense for the Bobcats was Tasha Herrera with 11 points.