Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
You could say that Haley Clarke’s swished second free throw staunched the bleeding after four consecutive Bayfield turnovers and a 6-0 Monte Vista run as the Pirates launched a desperate comeback in the final minutes of their play-in postseason basketball game.
You could, but you’d be stretching the truth about as long as the Wolverines’ lead.
Because the quiet game in a nearly empty Bayfield High School gymnasium Tuesday night to determine which team earned a berth into the Intermountain League Tournament was way short on drama.
First-half points, too.
The Bayfield girls relentless trap defense gave way to a 17-3 halftime lead, which the Wolverines parlayed into a 36-12 gap by the end of three quarters.
Quick and pretty much meaningless scoring spurts in the final frame finally urged the game to a trot for the final 53-28 margin.
“I’m not sure how to describe (that game),” BHS head coach Ronnie Posey said.
Unbalanced might be one way.
Discombobulated might be another.
The game had plenty of everything but points, early on.
There was the Bayfield defense, foremost – a new trap “trick” as Micaela Knickerbocker described it – that kept the Pirates from finding a single basket until Ashley Martinez’s 3-pointer more than 13 minutes into the game.
She’d finish with 10 points to lead the Pirates, seven of them in the final few minutes.
“Our defense (Tuesday): I could not be more pleased with our defense,” said Knickerbocker, daughter of Kirk and Marie Knickerbocker. “It was amazing.”
But Bayfield didn’t do much better, scoring just seven in the first eight minutes – five of their first nine points on free throws.
There were turnovers galore, as well, courtesy of said Bayfield defense: 22 from Monte Vista in the first three quarters and 21 from Bayfield, total.
“They totally boosted us like no tomorrow,” Knickerbocker said. “We were ready to go and just kept pushing.”
Those turnovers translated into plenty of shots, most of them missed. The Wolverines hit close to 25 percent from the floor, and Monte Vista shot even worse.
“We were just shooting to find fouls; we weren’t shooting to make it,” Knickerbocker said.
She could’ve been talking about either team.
So missed shots became plenty of air-ball rebound opportunities for Bayfield post Jaida Ross.
Fifteen in all, to go with six points.
“I usually get motivated when I get the rebounds,” Ross said about adding some much-needed third-quarter points to spur the Wolverines’ runaway victory.
“I think I was looking more to shoot off the backboard because those fall in better,” she said with something of a wry, verbal wink.
After the first quarter, those turnovers started to roll into plenty of Knickerbocker layups, too. She finished with a game-high 14 points.
“She’s a captain. She’s a leader,” Posey said. “And she’s a good ballplayer.”
Clarke had plenty of layup tries of her own, and she finished with seven points, five on inconsistent foul calls.
Because there also were plenty of those: calls, no calls, confusing calls and opposing parental catcalls.
Perhaps the best way for Bayfield to describe the game was in the words of Knickerbocker: “fun.”
“It was so much fun,” she said.
The Wolverines also could describe it like this: Bayfield moves on to face Pagosa Springs in the IML Tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday in Alamosa.