Anthony Flint scored 13 points alone in the second quarter. It was two points less than the entire Durango Demons team scored in the first and third quarters combined.
With a few lengthy stretches without a basket, the Durango High School boys basketball team saw a 24-24 halftime tie turn into a double-digit deficit in the third quarter.
And though the Class 4A Demons mounted a fourth-quarter comeback, it wasn’t enough as the Class 3A fifth-ranked Centauri Falcons (2-0) secured a 54-46 win Tuesday night in Durango.
“We put our best athlete on (Flint) and told him not to switch,” Centauri head coach Larry Mortensen said. “He was killing us, but I’m proud of my kids for how they responded.”
Flint scored a game-high 24 points for the Demons. Luke Wesley scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter to help DHS get back into the game.
“Their pressure got to some of our guys on the offensive end,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said. “We were on our heels in that third quarter. But we were still in the game, only down six points.”
Junior guard Mason Claunch proved to be the toughest player on the floor, as he raced around Durango’s forwards to collect rebounds while finishing with 11 points. Senior McKay Russell scored 12 points for the Falcons, while Trey Crowther also scored 11 points.
Outsized by the Durango forwards all game, the Falcons fought hard for every rebound.
“We only had two weeks of practice with open gyms, and that’s not good enough,” Mortensen said. “It’s not pretty basketball right now. We had driving lanes, and our strength is being a little bit quicker and Durango’s strength is being a bit bigger. Tonight, my kids fought like dogs on the boards because we knew we’d get beat there.”
Batiste was frustrated by stagnant offense from his team at times in the game. His said his big men need to learn to move off the ball more as the season goes on.
“Our guards have to handle the pressure more, but we have to teach our posts to move without the ball and not just stand there,” Batiste said.
The Demons will host the fifth edition of the Four Corners Southwest Classic tournament Friday and Saturday with Bayfield, Ignacio and Montezuma-Cortez all to play at DHS. Ignacio will open play at 4 p.m. Friday against Montezuma-Cortez, while Bayfield and Durango will follow at 6 p.m.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, it will be Bayfield vs. Ignacio, followed at 1 p.m. by Durango vs. Montezuma-Cortez.
“I’m excited to have this at home again after it rotating through all the schools since we started this Southwest Classic,” Batiste said. “Cross our fingers we make it to Friday and we get to see our boys play at home with these teams all here.”