Log In

Reset Password
Sports Youth Sports Professional Sports More Sports College Sports High School Sports

Hayes snatches victory for Ignacio basketball

Bobcats will play Sanford in semifinals for 2nd year in a row

PUEBLO – Wyatt Hayes sealed it with a steal.

Rye trailed the Ignacio High School boys basketball team 41-38 with less than a minute left in their CHSAA Class 2A State Championships Great 8 game Thursday at Massari Arena in Pueblo and was looking to tie.

The Bobcats’ junior point guard, who ranks second in the state in steals per game, robbed the Thunderbolts of that chance.

They fouled, and he hit two free throws to clinch a 45-38 victory for IHS, which advanced to its second consecutive Final Four.

IHS (22-2) led 39-38 with 40 seconds left, at which point Rye started to foul to preserve the clock. There is no shot clock in Colorado high school basketball.

“They handle the ball well, and I knew they would run the clock out,” Rye head coach Jim Hale said. “We had to take our chances and put them at the line.”

Hayes, Adison Jones and Anthony Manzanares combined to make 6-of-6 free throws down the stretch to lock down the victory.

“We work on free throws every day in practice,” said Hayes, son of Cindy and Tim Hayes. “We make them in practice, so I figured we could make them here.”

Hayes scored a game-high 16 points and carried Ignacio’s offense in the first half.

Both teams combined for seven total points in the first quarter, as Rye led 5-2.

Jones picked up his second foul early in the first quarter and had to go to the bench.

Enter Austin McCaw, who picked up a steal and a rebound in his first minute of state tournament play. He held the fort down for Jones, who returned with a vengeance in the fourth quarter to finish with 13 points.

“I was thinking play physical, play smart and don’t pick up a foul,” said Jones, son of Greg Jones and Latisha Taylor. “Luckily, it went my way in the second half.”

Rye led IHS 10-2 in the second quarter with Jones on the bench, but Hayes started scoring to bring the Bobcats roaring back.

He scored 11 of Ignacio’s 16 first-half points and gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game 16-15 at halftime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

IHS stretched that run to 22-9 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.

“When Jones got in foul trouble, I felt like we needed to take advantage of that,” Hale said. “We didn’t on the offensive side. When he was off the floor, we needed to put some points on the board. I felt like we outplayed them the first half and went in down one.”

The halftime break was IHS junior Nick Herrera’s only rest of the game. He played all 32 minutes, scoring seven points.

“We had to have him under the basket,” IHS head coach Chris Valdez said. “His best game by far this year. He didn’t have many points, but rebounding, taking care of the ball – all those little things he did were essential.”

Now the Bobcats have a shot at redemption. They face defending state champion Sanford, the team that knocked them out of state title contention last year, in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Pueblo.

“Now we have another chance to get them back,” Jones said.


Reader Comments