The Ignacio High School boys basketball team opened the season with a 57-49 road win at Kirtland Central in the opening round of the Webb Toyota Basin Tournament in Kirtland, N.M., on Thursday night.
“To come down here and get a win in a tough place to play is good for our young team,” IHS head coach Chris Valdez said.
“They are two weeks ahead of us, and Kirtland had already played a game.”
Four Bobcats scored in double figures in the season opener, led by senior Clayton Jefferson with 17 points. Kelton Richmond, a junior, scored 13. Sophomore Adison Jones and freshman Wyatt Hayes scored 11 points each.
Justin Carver, off the bench, added eight points for Ignacio.
Bo Ward, a junior transfer from Durango, contributed five points to the Ignacio win.
“All in all, it wasn’t too bad,” Valdez said.
The Bobcats led the Broncos 30-20 at halftime.
But Kirtland Central scored nine consecutive points to cut the lead to a single point early in the third quarter.
“We called a timeout and calmed our young team down,” said Valdez, entering his 13th season as head coach.
“We missed a lot of free throws, but we made some shots, and we managed to stay ahead.”
Christian Mackey, a 6-5, 260-pound junior center, led Kirtland Central with a game-high 19 points.
Ignacio (1-0) will play Whitehorse High School (0-1) from Montezuma Creek, Utah, at 4 p.m. today.
Another victory would send Ignacio into Saturday’s tournament championship game against Shiprock or Mesilla Valley Christian in Kirtland.
Mesilla Valley beat Whitehorse 57-21 on Thursday.