Wolverines avoid Monte Vista trap

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

Bayfield attacked Monte Vista on Friday night with drives by Tia Neeley and her teammates in the Wolverines’ 59-42 victory.

By Dale Strode Herald staff writer

BAYFIELD

The Wolverines avoided the trap game with a trap of their own.

The Bayfield High School girls basketball team, using a second-half scoring run fueled by its trapping full-court defense, pulled away to beat Monte Vista 59-42 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Intermountain League District Tournament.

“We were ... nervous and pumped, and it affected our play a little,” Bayfield senior Kayla Strobel said after the Wolverines managed only a four-point halftime lead over the Pirates, who had ousted Alamosa in the IML play-in game Tuesday night.

“But then we started to play better before halftime. And after halftime, we started that (run) over again,” Strobel said of the decisive 12-2 surge by the Wolverines to open the third quarter.

Strobel started the run with a baseline jumper. Strobel, the daughter of Karen Strobel, then passed to Candace Shaw for another basket.

The two Bayfield seniors added two more baskets each in the rally – off assists from senior teammate Breetta Moe – as the Wolverines expanded their lead.

Moe, who finished with eight assists, put the accent on the Bayfield surge with a 3-pointer to wrap up the third quarter with the Wolverines up 47-36.

“Part of it ... was the pregame jitters with how big of a game this was,” Shaw said of the scrappy first half.

The BHS senior, who scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, said they used their defense in the second half against the inspired Pirates, who stuck to the Wolverines in the first half like bubble gum on a hiking boot.

“They (Pirates) always bring their ‘A’ game. They play as hard as they can ... every time,” said Shaw, the daughter of Carla and John Shaw.

Behind senior Heather Manzanares, who finished with a game-high 22 points, Monte Vista threatened to pull off the trap – leading by two at the end of the first quarter.

“They did play hard,” Bayfield head coach Ronnie Posey said. “Kudos to them. They came to give their best effort, and they did.”

He said the Wolverines did a good job of overcoming the emotional challenge of Monte Vista (8-13) in a potential trap game.

But, he said, the Wolverines (17-3) will need a better game today when they take on Pagosa Springs (15-5) at 6 p.m. for the tournament championship.

“It’ll take a different effort (today),” Posey said of the matchup against Pagosa Springs – 46-39 winner over Centauri in the other IML girls semifinal Friday.

“We’ve got to start that game like we did this third quarter,” said Strobel, who scored 20 to match Shaw for the Wolverines.

“But now we’ve got all the jitters out, and we’re ready to play Pagosa for the third time,” Strobel said.

The Bayfield girls won the two previous meetings.

“We’re going to have to definitely cut down on our turnovers,” Shaw said of the championship showdown. “We’ve got to channel that nervous energy into something great.”

She said there’s something else at stake for all the Wolverines, especially the seven BHS seniors.

“This could be our last time to play at home,” Shaw said. “We want to have one more tournament here if we can.”

A Bayfield victory could give the Wolverines home court again next weekend in the Class 3A regionals.

The third-place girls game between Centauri and Monte Vista is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today at Bayfield High School.

The boys third-place game between Centauri and Monte Vista will follow at 4:15 p.m., with the Bayfield girls against Pagosa Springs at 6 p.m.

The Pagosa Springs boys will play Alamosa for the IML boys tournament championship at 8 p.m. today.

dstrode@durangoherald.com

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