Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
A new season means two brand new looks for both Durango and Bayfield high schools.
The Demons girls basketball team has restructured the roster after several graduations and a full offseason under last year’s interim coach, Nancy Smith.
Bayfield, meanwhile, is trying to find itself after losing seven seniors to graduation from last year’s 20-5, Class 3A state tournament team.
The two teams’ paths will converge on those respective journeys at 6 tonight at DHS when they square off in a rematch of last season’s 61-48 victory by the Wolverines.
With this game coming much earlier in the calendar than last season’s late January tilt in Bayfield, Bayfield head coach Ronnie Posey said he’s not sure what to expect from the Demons.
“We don’t know much about Durango, other than what we read (in The Durango Herald),” Posey said. “We know they have a new coach, a different philosophy ... they’ve been playing well.”
The Demons got to show off that new style last weekend in Pueblo, where they went 2-2 at the Lady Hornet Holiday Tournament.
DHS was able to use solid defense and timely scoring to beat Harrison 53-33 and Greeley Central 36-33 while falling eight points short against Pueblo County and stumbling 61-38 against Cañon City. Now the Demons get a chance to show what they can do on their home floor for the first time this season.
“I’m really, really excited,” Smith said last weekend. “These girls are just a fabulous group of people. (Last weekend) was a fabulous chance for us to come together as a team ... to try things that didn’t work and make some corrections; to make some adjustments and play against good pressure and learn to be composed.”
Offensively, Durango has been paced so far by guards Molly Barnes and Katie Wiegert and forward Emily McCue while relying mostly on pressure defense. Smith is carrying just nine players on varsity, and all have contributed in some form or another this season, particularly on defense as Smith prefers an up-tempo style of play – one she’s had the chance to implement fully now that she’s the full-time head coach, not just picking up the pieces midseason.
Posey, meanwhile, has been impressed with the patience exhibited by his club in a 1-1 start.
Bayfield beat Bloomfield by 14 at home before falling five points short at Piedra Vista. The Wolverines’ bench boss said that a more defined defensive attack and calmness offensively will be key for BHS as the season goes on.
“We may not always get the shot we want, but we are ... trying to get a better shot,” Posey said. “We’re more deliberate. We’re not going to blow by people, so we have to be patient.”
Whether Durango’s speed or Bayfield’s patience will win the day has yet to be seen. But one thing’s for certain – both teams will be getting an early season test tonight.