DHS: Sum of all parts

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo

There isn’t exactly one player that comes into focus when you analyze the Durango Demons’ boys basketball team. “Any given night, we have a different guy,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said. “But that’s the plus side – you don’t have to look to one guy to always get us out of a jam.”

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

This Durango team is less Heat, more Nuggets.

It’s not a crack on Durango High School’s ability on the basketball court; it’s a statement about the way the Demons are built.

There’s no LeBron James, no 20-plus point scorer to turn to on a nightly basis, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. But the Demons (10-4) are less a one-man band and more a sum of their parts.

Yes, Ty Elliott is Durango’s leading scorer. Yes, Nick Hamlin is the Demons’ go-to guy inside and their best rebounder.

But seemingly every time out, someone thrusts themselves from stage left into the spotlight. It could be freshman Lucas Baken, who came up from junior varsity and scored in double figures in his first two varsity games.

It could be Trent Andrews, who picked up the rebounding and defensive slack in a recent win over Montezuma-Cortez with Hamlin fighting foul trouble. It could be just about anyone.

“It’s good, because other teams can’t really scout us that well because they don’t really know what’s coming,” said Andrews, son of Alan and Nancy Andrews.

The sum-of-its-parts mentality is one head coach Alan Batiste has been working to instill since he took over two seasons ago, learning more about his program and his players as he goes.

“Any given night, we have a different guy,” Batiste said. “But that’s the plus side – you don’t have to look to one guy to always get us out of a jam.”

That collectiveness, that basketball socialism of sorts, takes pressure off individuals to play beyond themselves, where players who once felt the sting after miscues now feel they’ve got teammates capable of picking up the slack.

It’s an ethos Batiste wants to extend beyond just the offensive end. Rebounding, defense – everybody’s got something they can bring to the table, despite their talent level. Yes, offense gets the headlines, but everyone playing a role in a well-orchestrated production picks up the wins.

“We have an impact player every single time we play, whether it’s rebounds or passing or just handling the ball in late-game situations,” Batiste said.

rowens@ durangoherald.com

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