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Ignacio Bobcats dig deep in second half to beat Telluride

Bobcats to meet Mancos in district championship game
Ocean Hunter gets right up in the face of Telluride’s Kaden Katz in Friday’s 2A District 3 tournament semifinal game at Montezuma-Cortez High School.

The Ignacio High School boys basketball team closed out Friday night’s Class 2A District 3 semifinal game against Telluride strong. Ignacio held the Miners to 11 points in the fourth quarter and held on for a 57-46 win at Montezuma-Cortez High School.

“We got the win, and it’s survive and advance,” said IHS head coach Chris Valdez. “I never felt like we were in trouble of losing the game even though our shooting wasn’t there tonight. I knew if we could make a little run, we could pull it out.”

Ignacio (16-3) entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed after IHS tied for the Class 2A/1A San Juan Basin League regular-season championship with Mancos. On Friday against the Miners (7-13), the Bobcats played even with Telluride in the first half for a 23-23 tie at the break.

Telluride took a narrow 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but Ignacio bounced back in the second. Ocean Hunter hit a timely floater with seven seconds remaining in the first half.

In the second half, the Bobcats outscored the Miners 16-12 in the third quarter to take a 39-35 advantage. In the final quarter, Ignacio’s offense came to life with 18 points to secure the win. The Bobcats started the fourth on a 9-0 run with baskets from Bird Red, an offensive rebound and putback from Hunter and a Brady McCaw 3-pointer. The spurt put IHS up by double figures, and the Bobcats were able to close out the win.

Ignacio was led by Hunter with 16 points, McCaw had 14 and Triston Thompson scored 13. Gabe Tucson chipped in seven. Bryce Finn was held to just two points and committed four personal fouls.

Gabe Tucson (3) steals the ball from Telluride’s Kaden Katz in Friday’s 2A District 3 tournament semifinal game at Montezuma-Cortez High School.

“Ocean was huge in the first half, and Bryce was 1-for-8 from the field, so we had to rest him,” Valdez said. “Ocean’s mid-range game was good, and he hit a couple of runners that helped our momentum. If we can get Bryce going tomorrow, that’s going to be big because he’s as fresh as a spring daisy now.”

The Miners were led by South Livermore with 10 points. Tommy Wells had nine points alongside Kaden Katz, who scored seven in the first quarter.

In the other District 3 semifinal, Mancos (17-3) dominated Ridgway (8-13) for a 65-25 win. The Bluejays got out to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter and never relinquished the lead.

Ignacio will play Mancos for the third time this season. In the first matchup, Ignacio won a 67-61 thriller at home in January. The Bluejays controlled the offensive rebounding battle in the second matchup to win 69-57 at Mancos. It was only a year ago the teams hoped to meet in the same scenario, but IHS lost to Dolores to prevent a district championship showdown with Mancos. IHS would go on to lose to Telluride in the third-place game to miss out on regionals.

On Saturday, Telluride will play Ridgway for the third-place game at 11 a.m., while Ignacio and Mancos will decide the district championship at 2:30 p.m. at Montezuma-Cortez High School.

“We have to go at them and play our game,” Valdez said. “We talked about it and prepared for what Telluride does, which is a 1-3-1, but they didn’t use it tonight. So, we’ve got a whole arsenal of plays that nobody has seen yet. We know what to expect and have watched the film. We’re going to go right at them like they’re going to go right at us. May the best man win, and we’re excited for tomorrow.”


Feb 28, 2020
Ignacio girls basketball into district title game
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