IGNACIO - This was no opening act.
Rather, the Ignacio and Telluride girls basketball teams raised the curtain on their own thrill show before Saturday night's highly anticipated matchup of the two boys teams.
The result was a nail-biting 45-41 victory by the Telluride girls, who had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to top the host Bobcats at the Ignacio High School gym.
"We saw some improvement in certain areas (Saturday night)," Ignacio first-year coach Brice Searles said.
"We're still trying to learn how to win games. We're learning ... to finish. We've got to get through a losing mentality that the girls are used to."
He said the Bobcats need to get more production for their efforts, which he praised Saturday night.
The Ignacio girls, seeking their first win of the season, started faster than in any game thus far. Rocio Garcia hit a pair of early baskets, and Cassandra Sanchez banked home a 3-pointer to spur the Bobcats.
Sanchez added another 3-pointer late in the first quarter, helping Ignacio to a 14-8 lead. Tasha Herrera opened the second quarter with a baseline basket, a steal and a layup.
When Elisa Gallegos and Garcia hit foul shots, the Bobcats extended their lead to 22-8 midway through the second period.
Ignacio held the youthful Miners (four freshmen on the varsity roster of seven players) scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the second quarter.
But a late 9-0 run by Telluride, including baskets from Nicky Goldsworthy, Meghan Cain and foul shots from Cain and Sonja Erickson, cut Ignacio's halftime lead to 22-17.
Telluride pulled even in the third quarter, with the Bobcats regaining a 30-29 lead entering the fourth quarter on a fastbreak layup from Santana Rodriquez.
Telluride tied the game 30-30 on a free throw from Lindsey Bosse.
But then the Miners gradually eased ahead, helped by the foul shooting of freshman Emy Ludwig.
She converted six free throws in the fourth quarter.
But the Bobcats were not finished yet.
They charged back late in the fourth quarter after falling behind by eight points with 4:00 on the clock.
Rodriquez started the run with a free throw.
Garcia added a basket from the inside.
Tasha Herrera scored on a layup.
And when Garcia scored again off an assist Tasha Herrera, the Bobcats cut the Telluride lead to 43-41 with 1:10 to play.
But those would be the final points for Ignacio while Telluride tacked on a basket from Erickson for the 45-41 final score.
Goldsworthy led all scorers with 14 points.
Lindsey Bosse added nine points for Telluride.
Ludwig scored eight, all from the foul line.
Garcia led Ignacio with 13 points. Sanchez added 10. Tasha Herrera scored six.
The Ignacio girls fell to 0-4 on the season.
Telluride improved to 3-4.