Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Shane Richmond caught the basketball in the lane, turned right, then pivoted to his left, banking a soft left-handed hook shot off the backboard and down through the basket.
For the second time in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, Ignacio High School’s right-handed senior went to a baby left-handed hook to convert an interior basket.
For the umpteenth time in the Pine River rivalry game, a Richmond basket turned back a potential Bayfield rally as the homestanding Bobcats beat the Bayfield High School boys basketball team 71-59.
“They (teammates) were able to get me the ball (in the post), and I was able to hit shots. Then I hit some hook shots,” said Richmond, who scored a game-high 34 points.
He said he felt comfortable, too, working against a taller defender in Bayfield’s 6-9 Derek Hillyer.
Richmond, who hit 15 field goals, including one 3-pointer, also had 11 rebounds as the Bobcats – ranked No. 6 in Class 2A by coloradopreps.com – improved to 15-4 overall.
On three occasions, he converted baskets on snappy assists from brother Kelton Richmond, a sophomore.
“We’ve both been sick, but we’re getting better,” Shane Richmond said.
“The Richmond boys are healthy; I could see it in their eyes,” Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez said after the victory before a packed house.
“They had their legs under them, and it showed,” he said.
Valdez said Shane Richmond was effective using a ball fake against the bigger defenders from Bayfield.
“He was using the (shot) fake, getting the defenders in the air,” Valdez said.
Richmond learned some of those post moves as a young Bobcat practicing against all-state center Alex Herrera, who now plays for Fort Lewis College.
Herrera had a front-row seat for the rivalry matchup that saw Ignacio lead 16-7 early before Bayfield rallied behind baskets by freshman Preston Hardy and senior Cody Rose and a pair of free throws by Zach Stone.
With Hillyer battling early foul trouble, Ignacio pushed the first-half lead to 11. But Rose kept the Wolverines close with a long 3-pointer to end the half at 34-26, Ignacio.
Early in the third quarter, Hillyer rallied the Wolverines with a resounding dunk on a putback.
But before the Bayfield fans could get back in their seats, Shane Richmond scored again for the Bobcats.
“A big thing ... was (Clayton) Jefferson taking care of the basketball,” Valdez said. “What he’s been doing ... getting the ball to people and creating things ... wow.”
The Bobcats only had nine turnovers against the Class 3A Wolverines.
Hillyer led Bayfield with 14 points and eight rebounds, and Tyler Kerr added 10 for BHS (9-9).
Jefferson, with eight assists, also had eight points, and freshman Adison Jones scored 13. Four different Bobcats hit 3-pointers, including Jones, Watts and the Richmond brothers.
The game was the final one for Ignacio before the San Juan Basin District Tournament in Cortez on Feb. 24-25.
Bayfield has one game remaining in the Intermountain League. BHS will host Monte Vista on Thursday, then the Wolverines will host Monte Vista again next Tuesday in the play-in game for the Intermountain League Tournament.