The undefeated Buckaroos from Monticello, Utah, converted key free throws down the stretch to hold off the Bayfield boys basketball team 55-43 on Saturday afternoon in the annual Four Corners Classic tournament in Cortez.
“We played our best game so far,” Bayfield head coach Bill Hesford said.
“It was a good game, back and forth,” Hesford said after the Wolverines started fast behind three 3-pointers from 6-6 sophomore Preston Hardy.
Bayfield scored 16 points in the first quarter to take an early lead.
The teams were tied at halftime.
“They had us by two to four points for most of the second half. Then, they made their free throws down the stretch,” Hesford said of Monticello (6-0).
“Monticello is a tough team. We couldn’t quite get them,” Hesford said.
BHS played a more complete game, the head coach said, than in two tournament losses Friday.
Hardy led the Wolverines with 16 points and six rebounds against the Buckaroos.
Tyler Kerr added nine points and five rebounds.
BHS point guard Joey Webb had three assists, five rebounds and three points.
Geoff Pope added six points off the bench for Bayfield (0-3).
“Some of our younger guys are starting to contribute,” Hesford said.
“We scored 16 points in the first quarter. That’s the pace we want,” Hesford said. “We just need to sustain it.”
On Friday, the Wolverines opened their game schedule with a rare prep doubleheader.
“Each time we go out, we get better. That’s the encouraging part,” Hesford said Friday night after the Wolverines lost 63-39 to a hot-shooting Miyamura team from Gallup, N.M., and 65-54 to host Montezuma-Cortez.
“Against Cortez, we played from behind the whole time, but we got it down to five points with two minutes to go,” Hesford said. “We just couldn’t get any closer.”
Hardy scored 17 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Wolverines. Kerr added 10 points and six rebounds for BHS.
“Joey Webb played really well,” Hesford said of his senior floor general. “He handled the pressure really well.”
“Eirik Kins (nine points) had his best game. He rebounded, and he made free throws. Especially down the stretch. He and Preston and Joey all made free throws,” Hesford said.
“It was an exciting game.”
Miyamura, which entered the Four Corners Classic with a 3-0 record, blitzed the Wolverines with torrid outside shooting in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.
“That’s a nice group of athletes,” Hesford said. “They shot extremely well.”
Kerr led the Wolverines with 10 points and five rebounds. Hardy added six points and five boards.