A set of portable speakers was alight with the sound of pop music of various stripes remixed with the underlying sounds of squeaking sneakers and bounced basketballs from the opposite end of the gym.
Loud, yet positive, reinforcement from the head coach made for a third layer of sound as Nancy Smith went about practicing what shes preached to her squad since taking over.
The Durango High School girls basketball team isnt any more talented at a quick glance than its predecessor last year that finished 5-16.
But an underlying theme thats been mentioned off-hand in interviews all season is a cohesiveness and an effort to put forth a more positive vibe that DHS struggled with at times last year.
Its one of several reasons the Demons still are chasing a playoff berth at this late stage of the season.
That isnt to say former head coach Klint Chandlers style wasnt effective he led the Demons to a playoff berth and first-round victory in 2010. But Smiths honey over vinegar approach seems to be working with this squad.
Coming in, Smith said she wanted to know as little as possible about what went on before her arrival, and she said that helped as she said nobody rebuffed her attempts to influence the mindset.
When we see greatness, we try to encourage that, she said.
This season, it began with Smith putting in her philosophy of KENT that if youve got something to say to a teammate, it needs to be Kind, Encouraging, Necessary and True.
My brother, when he was 3, went in the store and told this man, Mister, you eat too many taters, Smith said as an example. He was overweight. It was true, but it wasnt necessary.
Senior guard Alyssa Montoya echoed whats been a common refrain at times all season that a focus on staying unflinchingly positive has been a boon.
Its helped the Demons (9-5, 2-3 Southwestern League) keep an even temperament through a seven-game win streak and the ensuing three-game losing slide.
Just not letting success get to your head and not letting failure get to your heart, said Montoya, daughter of Richard and Victoria Montoya. I think that quote is kind of what we go by.