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. Enlarge photo

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo

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.

The Bobcats know they’ll get shots; they just have to convert.

“We’ve got to be able to shoot the ball better than we have,” Ignacio High School boys basketball coach Chris Valdez said.

“We will have to shoot better ... we’ll get the shots. But we need to hit ’em,” Valdez said as Ignacio (17-4) will take on Crowley County of Ordway (15-7) in the Class 2A Region 3 Tournament at 5:30 p.m. today at the Durango High School gym.

The Bobcats made their shots in three previous regional appearances at DHS, winning back-to-back-to-back regional titles.

The other boys semifinal at DHS will feature Sanford (18-5) against West Grand of Kremmling (14-8) at 8:30 p.m. today.

Valdez said the Bobcats were concerned after an ice-cold outside shooting performance last Saturday in the district title game against Ridgway. Ignacio hit only 2 of 23 shots from beyond the 3-point line.

Adison Jones, a freshman, and Shane Richmond, a senior, rallied the Bobcats to the come-from-behind victory.

“Adison ... was the guy who sparked our comeback,” Valdez said.

Richmond overcame foul problems to score a game-high 36 points. He is averaging 26 points and nine rebounds per game.

Against Crowley County, a team the Bobcats beat in the regionals at DHS last year, Richmond will face a big, physical defender, Valdez said.

“Their big guy is pretty physical, but he’ll be up against one of the best posts in the state,” Valdez said of the Bobcats’ center who had a big game against Crowley County one year ago.

The Chargers’ biggest offensive threat is sophomore Nathan Baylor, who is averaging 23 points per game.

“He’s a real penetrator. And he’ll shoot the ball ... he’s got a quick trigger,” Valdez said.

The Crowley County point guard, Valdez said, also is capable of breaking out with 20 points.

“We’ve got to be able to shoot the ball, that’s for sure,” said Valdez, who noted the Sanford team in the other regional semifinal is a solid, tough squad from a balanced league.

“The thing that they do, which we don’t like, is that they will slow the ball down. They’ll move the ball, pass the ball,” he said of Sanford’s deliberate, methodical style.

“They try to do what ... Holyoke did to us at state two years ago (in the state championship game),” Valdez said.

First, Sanford will have to pass the test of West Grand in tonight’s late game at DHS.

The semifinal winners will play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for the regional title and a trip to Pueblo. Ignacio is seeking its fourth consecutive trip to the CHSAA Class 2A Boys Basketball State Championships elite eight at Massari Fieldhouse on the CSU-Pueblo campus.

The elite eight is March 8-10.

Ridgway (14-7), runner-up to Ignacio in the San Juan Basin League, will travel to Adams State College in Alamosa to take on Rocky Ford (15-7) in a regional semifinal today, while Telluride (11-9) will take on Lutheran (13-9) today at the Region 5 Tournament in Grand Junction.

dstrode@durangoherald.com