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Durango boys basketball wins first two games at Centauri tournament

Demons open season 2-0 for first time since 2018-19
Jacob Nuebert of Durango High School puts up a shot while playing Grand Junction High School last season at DHS. Nuebert scored in double figures in the Demons’ first two games. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Demons boys basketball team is off to a strong start, beating Ignacio 49-23 and Olathe 70-35 in Centauri on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Durango is now 2-0 on the season and will face Centauri on Saturday at 2:30.

In Thursday night’s game against Ignacio, senior center Jacob Nuebert led the Demons with 12 points and freshman forward Donovan Whitehead had 10 points.

“The boys were excited. I mean, you could tell nerves were all involved and we’ve got the football guys coming in, so their timing was off a little bit,” Demons coach Alan Batiste said. “But we just started off with a lot of pressure, we probably forced 20-plus turnovers. So a lot of our turnovers led to easy buckets, especially in that first half. Then we played half-court defense, and we didn't execute in the second half at all.”

Durango led 37-8 at halftime against Ignacio, but only managed 12 second-half points as the squad didn’t finish the game with the focus and intensity needed, according to Batiste.

Batiste was happy with how his team took care of the ball and utilized the high-low attack with Nuebert at 6-foot-7 inches and Whitehead at 6-foot-6.

“It's hard to guard. You're talking Donovan at 6-6 and Jake at 6-7, no matter who's throwing the ball, but if they get good positioning, and they're down low, and when we catch it the high post I mean, that's just what we got to look for,” Batiste said. “It could be an automatic attack.”

Batiste also stressed the differences in Nuebert and Whitehead’s games as a strength for the Demons. Whitehead can grab the rebound and finish at the rim, while Nuebert has great length on both the offensive and defensive end.

On Friday against Olathe, the Demons kept their foot on the gas with 32 second-half points. Durango had four players in double figures, with Whitehead and Nuebert leading the way with 14 points each. Senior guard Zach Unruh had 11 points, while junior guard Noah Miles had 10 points.

The combination of good half-court defense, transition offense and half-court offense led to the 70-point outburst on Friday, according to Batiste.


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