IHS Bobcats pounce on the other Bobcats

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

Ignacio’s Kelton Richmond scored a game-high-tying 15 points over Ryan Johnson, Tyler Barker and Bloomfield on Tuesday, 12 of them in the second half and most of those from down low. IHS won 56-34.

By Jim Sojourner Herald staff writer

IGNACIO – They say basketball is a game of runs.

They didn’t mean it like this.

The Bloomfield Bobcats went on a 9-0 foul run in the third quarter of the Ignacio High School boys basketball team’s home opener Tuesday night, then the IHS Bobcats returned the favor with an 8-1 foul run of their own between the third and fourth quarters.

“You see it sometimes,” IHS head coach Chris Valdez said, after chuckling about those runs. “And it’s neither here nor there.”

It certainly wasn’t Tuesday in Ignacio, where the home court-variety Bobcats used a 17-4 first-quarter lead to propel them to a to an easy 56-34 victory.

“We just outhustled them and were more aggressive, crashed the boards and tough D,” said Clayton Jefferson, who had a game-high-tying 15 points for the Bobcats.

Quarter 1 mattered most when it came to building Ignacio’s mostly constant lead.

Although Valdez said his team’s defensive intensity was lacking early on, its shooting touch was not.

Freshman Wyatt Hayes made two of his three first-half 3-pointers in the first frame as Ignacio powered through a 17-2 scoring run while Bloomfield’s shots refused to drop.

“Wyatt with his three 3s in the first half really engineered (our lead),” Valdez said.

Hayes finished with 11 points for IHS.

But the second quarter didn’t go quite as well, as Bloomfield started to pick apart that intensity-light defense. Bloomfield crept within nine at 20-11 with about two minutes to play before Jefferson sank two consecutive 3-pointers to open the lead back up.

“I’ve been working all week on them and previous weeks, and they seem to be coming along,” Jefferson said.

Then, after the break, Valdez decided to institute a trap defense for the first time this season.

The trap started churning Bloomfield turnovers.

“It’s a good trap defense,” Kelton Richmond said.

He would think so; he was the biggest beneficiary of Bloomfield’s turnovers.

After scoring just three points in the first half, Richmond scored 12 after the intermission for a game-high 15 points.

“Got out in transition more ... got some easy buckets,” said Richmond, son of Denise and Jeff Richmond, who got some help with slick, in-paint passes from Adison Jones and Austin Haire, who had eight and six rebounds, respectively.

“Kelton’s turning into a quiet leader and a quiet scorer for us,” Valdez said.

“He doesn’t look like he’s doing much” but that score line, and his teammates, say much differently, the 13th year head coach said.

So by the time those runs of a different sort came along in the final two quarters, the game already was well in hand for Ignacio (4-0).

Still, Valdez said there’s plenty to work on after four games in six days, including limiting turnovers (18 on Tuesday), that trap defense, crisp passing and better conditioning before taking the weekend off then hosting Sargent on Dec. 14.

But Jefferson, son of Robert and Tina Jefferson, didn’t have too much to complain about after Tuesday’s rout in the Bobcats’ home opener.

“It was fun; good to go out and give the crowd another show,” he said.

jsojourner@durangoherald.com

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