Fourth time’s a charm?

Sports

Fourth time’s a charm?

IHS boys begin their quest for yet another regional crown
Shane Richmond overcame foul problems to score a game-high 36 points in Ignacio’s district championship. He is averaging 26 points and nine rebounds per game entering this weekend’s regional tournament at Durango High School.
Pressure? What pressure? IHS girls know pressure

Two years ago, Brice Searles and the Ignacio Bobcats experienced their first taste of postseason full-court pressure defense.
A year later, the Ignacio High School girls basketball team started a pressure defense of their own.
With their third consecutive trip to the Class 3A regionals, the Bobcats are ready to play pressure defense, and they’re ready to play against pressure defense.
“Our defense, as always, will have to be a mainstay for us,” Searles said with the Bobcats (10-10) scheduled to play Denver Christian (16-5) at 3 p.m. today at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction in the Class 2A Region 5 Tournament.
Paonia (20-1) will play Custer County (13-8) in the other girls Region 5 semifinal today in Grand Junction.
The two winners will play for the regional title at 11 a.m. Saturday at Colorado Mesa.
“There are always a lot of unknowns going into (regionals),” Searles said. “But there are a lot of unknowns about us, too.”
Searles said the Ignacio girls earned their chance to play in the postseason for the third consecutive year.
“Each year ... we’ve kind of surprised ourselves,” Searles said.
The current Bobcats feel like they belong in postseason play, too.
“The girls ... don’t fear the other teams.”
Ignacio is hopeful its defense can force turnovers and frustration on the part of Denver Christian, a former 3A school that moved to 2A last year.
“I don’t think we have as much anxiety (about regionals) as we have in the past,” Searles said.
The Crusaders will attack the Ignacio pressure defense with a methodical offense led by Jerika Schmitt, who scores 14 points per game and pulls down 15 rebounds per game – one of the top rebounders in Class 2A. Schmitt also averages five steals for the 2A Mile High League champions.
The Crusaders, like the Bobcats, average 45 points per game.
The Bobcats are led by juniors Michelle Simmons and Mariah Vigil, who averaged 12 points each. Simmons also averaged nine rebounds per game for the Ignacio girls.
“Size is usually the one factor that can work against us,” Searles said. “But our guard play can be so good ... we can counter that.”
Ignacio, with contributions from Pam Cotton, Val Armstrong and Sky Cotton, have improved as rebounders this season, Searles said.
The regional’s other game will feature the Paonia team that is undefeated against 2A and 3A competition this year. The Eagles, who won the state title two years ago with pressing defense and high-speed offense (67 points per game), lost only to Class 4A Delta, a team that finished 20-5 with a second-round playoff loss last weekend.
In other Class 2A regional play, the Ridgway girls – winners of the San Juan Basin League – will take their 16-4 record into a game against Hoehne (11-10) at 4 p.m. today at Durango High School.
Meeker (15-5) will play Del Norte (16-6) in the other girls matchup at 7 p.m. today at DHS.
dstrode@durangoherald.com

“We’ve got to be able to shoot the ball, that’s for sure.”
Chris valdez
IHS boys basketball coach

Class 2A Regionals

Boys High School Basketball
CHSAA Class 2A Boys Basketball State Championships
Note: Ignacio’s four-team region at Durango High School is listed below. There are seven other four-team regions as well.
Regional Semifinals
Friday, March 2
Ignacio (17-4) vs. Crowley County (15-7), 5:30 p.m.
West Grand (14-8) vs. Sanford (18-5), 8:30 p.m.
Regional Championship
Saturday, March 3
Ignacio-Crowley County winner vs. West Grand-Sanford winner, 2:30 p.m.

Elite Eight
March 8-10
Massari Fieldhouse, CSU-Pueblo
Teams TBD
Durango Herald

Fourth time’s a charm?

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Shane Richmond overcame foul problems to score a game-high 36 points in Ignacio’s district championship. He is averaging 26 points and nine rebounds per game entering this weekend’s regional tournament at Durango High School.
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