Class 2A’s No. 4 vs. Class 3A’s No. 7

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Class 2A’s No. 4 vs. Class 3A’s No. 7

Ranked sides meet tonight in Ignacio
Shane Richmond and Class 2A No. 4 Ignacio will meet regional foe Pagosa Springs tonight. The Pirates are ranked No. 7 in Class 3A. “We’ve got to play better guard defense (against the Pirates),” IHS head coach Chris Valdez said.

Get there early.

A showdown of ranked basketball teams is expected to draw a big regional crowd to Ignacio High School tonight.

The homestanding Ignacio boys (12-3), ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by coloradopreps.com, will take on Pagosa Springs (13-2), the No. 7 team in Class 3A.

“Everyone is looking at this game,” Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez said of the matchup against the Bobcats’ former Intermountain League rival.

“With them ranked in 3A, people will be watching to see how we ... match up,” said Valdez, who has led the Ignacio boys to the Class 2A State Basketball Championships in Pueblo three consecutive years.

Pagosa Springs has a similar streak of appearances in the Class 3A eight-team state tournament field in Fort Collins.

“It is a good time for us to play them,” Valdez said.

“In January, we weren’t ready ... to play Pagosa. Defensively, we still might not be quite ready,” he said, adding that the Bobcats have improved – particularly the younger players.

Still, Valdez said, Pagosa Springs will present a tough challenge for a team looking for challenges. The Ignacio boys are a perfect 9-0 in the combined 1A/2A San Juan Basin League.

They boast the leading scorer in the region and one of the top 2A scorers in the state in senior Shane Richmond.

The play of the 3A Pirates will help the Bobcats from a competitive standpoint, Valdez said.

“They are a very good team. Their transition game is really good,” Valdez said.

“But their biggest asset is their ability to penetrate from the guard position,” Valdez said, citing the Pirates’ dynamic drive-and-dish offense that has generated seven consecutive wins.

“We’ve got to play better guard defense (against the Pirates),” Valdez said.

He said Pagosa’s core players – Tyson Ross, Kain Lucero, Clay Ross, Daniel Puskas, Gabe Lister and Zachariah Griego – are athletic and physical.

And fast.

Puskas, an all-conference wide reciever, last week signed to play football at Fort Lewis College.

“We hope there will be a good crowd. There should be with our fans ... and they travel well,” Valdez said.

The Ignacio boys game will start about 7 p.m. today, right after the Ignacio girls (7-7 overall) take on the Pagosa Springs girls (12-4 overall).

“We’ll see what we can do ... to get ready for the weekend,” Ignacio girls coach Brice Searles said.

His team will face a pair of key San Juan Basin League games at home against Mancos on Friday and Telluride on Saturday.

“We’ll work on some things. We could really use the practice time, but we’ll work on them (during the game),” Searles said.

dstrode@durangoherald.com

Class 2A’s No. 4 vs. Class 3A’s No. 7

Shane Richmond and Class 2A No. 4 Ignacio will meet regional foe Pagosa Springs tonight. The Pirates are ranked No. 7 in Class 3A. “We’ve got to play better guard defense (against the Pirates),” IHS head coach Chris Valdez said.
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