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Ignacio loses close one in Mountain Top semis

Durango boys, girls and Ignacio girls pick up wins on second day of tournament
Ignacio’s Eppie Quintana attempts a leaping pass through the double-team of 2A Sargent’s A.J. Garcia (3) and Lucas Garcia (20) inside Centauri High School Gymnasium on Thursday. The Bobcats routed the Farmers, 55-14. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

The Ignacio High School boys basketball team was the only local team to win its first-round game at Centauri’s Mountain Top Classic on Thursday. Both Durango squads and Ignacio’s girls, however, all picked up wins Friday to advance to the fifth-place games.

Ignacio’s boys started the tournament with a dominant 55-14 win over Sargent. The Bobcats jumped out to a 19-2 lead after the first quarter. Sargent stayed close in the second, but Gabe Tucson hit a late 3-pointer to give IHS a 28-9 halftime lead.

Ignacio then out-scored Sargent 19-2 again in the third quarter and cruised to a win. Tucson finished with 15 points, including 13 in the first half, to lead IHS. Eppie Quintana scored 12, Dylan McCaw added 11 and Phillip Quintana added 8.

In the semifinals, Tucson scored 16 of the Bobcats’ 18 second-half points and finished with 23, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a shaky 22-20 halftime lead from crumbling against the Rye Thunderbolts.

Tucson went 3-of-3 from the foul line with 1:33 left in the third quarter, tying the game at 31, but RHS went into the final frame up 36-31 and didn’t allow IHS to get closer than 40-39 during the final two minutes. Quintana fouled out with 9.1 seconds remaining, and ’Bolt Brock Benz hit one of two free throws to ice the victory.

With two treys to complement Tucson’s three, Eppie Quintana hit double figures with 10 points, and Phillip Quintana logged seven in defeat.

Camden Steele and Brandon Benz each netted 13 points for Rye, and the Thunderbolts finished 7-of-9 from the stripe in the fourth. IHS went 6-of-9 for the game, with Tucson 6-of-8.

RHS led 13-9 after the first quarter, but IHS first tied the score at 17-17 via a Phillip Quintana triple with 1:30 left in the first half. Answering a Benz three, Eppie Quintana put the Bobcats up 22-20 at intermission with a clutch three of his own.

The Bobcats will now play the loser of Cedaredge and Centauri in the third-place game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Durango’s Tyler Harms puts up a short-range shot Friday against Rocky Ford. The Class 4A Demons drubbed the 2A Meloneers 64-35 at the Mountain Top Classic inside Centauri Middle School’s gym. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)
Durango boys beat Rocky Ford

The Durango boys basketball team outscored Rocky Ford 24-0 in the third quarter Thursday to help them take down the Meloneers 64-35.

“It was definitely a good bounce-back win,” said DHS head coach Alan Batiste. “We turned up our defense in the third quarter and then stayed hungry after that.”

The coach said the team forced a lot of turnovers on defense while creating second chances on offense.

“Our hands got active (on defense),” Batiste said. “And when we missed a shot, we dominated the offensive glass and got some easy put-backs.”

Walter Stauffer gabbed six rebounds, Lincoln Clay had five, Brady Leimbach had five rebounds, and the coach said pretty much everyone else had four or three rebounds.

“It was an overall team effort,” Batiste said. “That balance helps out a lot, and I tell them it will take everybody.”

Clay and Jasper Zastrocky each scored nine points to lead DHS while Stauffer and Maddox Bryant each scored eight.

“Lincoln had a big game and set the tone offensively in the first and second quarter, getting easy buckets down low,” Batiste said.

Zach Haber also had another big game on defense for DHS. “The intensity he brings on defense is tremendous,” Batiste said.

The Demons will play Olathe in the fifth-place game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Olathe fell 47-32 to Rye in the first round but beat Sargent 47-9 on Friday.

“We’ll try and finish strong,” Batiste said. “You always want to end in the win column when you leave a tournament.”

Durango girls score season-high 57 in win

The Durango High School girls basketball team got in the win column Friday with a 57-30 victory over Rocky Ford.

The Demons jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first quarter and led 29-12 at the break.

“We played much better,” said head coach Tim Fitzpatrick. “We came out well even though it was an early morning game.”

The coach said the players started to find some identity in their roles and are beginning to understand what they can do to help the team.

Carter Neiman, for instance, grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Demons. She also had five steals.

The coach also said Mia Whistler played a good game. “Mia Whistler did a lot of good things,” the coach said. “She got inside and battled and brought some toughness to us.”

Fitzpatrick also said Riley Campbell “played a good all-around game” and freshman Katelyn Sheppard started to relax and play better.

Mason Rowland, meanwhile, scored 28 points to lead DHS. “She didn’t force anything, didn’t get into foul trouble and just let the game come to her,” Fitzpatrick said. “And she had help from her teammates.”

After being plagued by turnovers on Thursday, the Demons also took better care of the ball Friday. “We did a much better job and didn’t really turn the ball over,” the coach said. “We shot the ball better and rebounded the ball really well.”

Durango and Ignacio will now play in the fifth-place game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Ignacio's Solymar Cosio, left, looks to drive along the edge of the paint around Olathe's Delana Mountford on Friday at Centauri's Mountain Top Classic. Ignacio beat Olathe 42-31. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)
Ignacio girls rebound from loss to beat Olathe

Ignacio’s girls basketball team began the tournament against Sargent Thursday and only trailed 9-5 after the first quarter and 25-19 at halftime. Sargent, however, went on an 18-0 run in the third to blow the game open.

Avaleena Nanaeto scored 19 points to lead Ignacio. Darlyn Lechuga-Mendoza scored 11, Harmony Reynolds scored 8 and Laci Brunson added six.

Ignacio's Avaleena Nanaeto stretches a shot attempt away from Olathe defenders on Friday at Centauri's Mountain Top Classic. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Against Olathe, IHS led 13-12 late in the first quarter, but Nanaeto took it upon herself to give the Bobcats some breathing room. Spinning to the hoop for a late layup to close out the first quarter, Nanaeto then scored the first six points of the second stanza to put IHS up, 21-12. The Bobcats held Olathe scoreless for the first 4:24 of the quarter, Brunson cashed in from the free-throw line and Ignacio took a 29-13 lead into halftime.

Nanaeto would foul out on a disputed charging call late in the third quarter, but Ignacio’s 33-19 advantage would actually grow to 37-21 by the end of the period. Olathe only got within 10 points of the Bobcats once down the stretch, and Reynolds leaked out undetected and answered with a crushing cherry-pick layup. Brunson led IHS with 12 points, Nanaeto finished with 11 and Reynolds chipped in seven.

Bayfield gets season underway

The Bayfield boys and girls basketball also got their seasons going Thursday at the NorCo tournament. Both teams, however, came up short against Eaton.

Bayfield’s boys lost to the Reds, 92-58, and the girls fell 71-13.