The Ignacio High School boys basketball team had its sites set on an outright Class 2A/1A San Juan Basin League championship Tuesday night in Mancos. Connor Showalter and the Bluejays had other ideas.
Showalter scored 25 points, and his older brother Caden scored 12 to lead the Bluejays to a 69-57 home win against IHS. With the win, Mancos avenged its lone loss in conference play, a 67-61 defeat at Ignacio in January. The teams will share the regular-season league championship for a second consecutive season after the teams also split last year’s regular-season games.
“The kids are down because of the mistakes, not because of the loss,” said IHS head coach Chris Valdez. “We turned the ball over anywhere from 25 to 27 times tonight, and that was uncharacteristic of us. Give credit to Mancos. They’re easily a top-five team, and the way that they play, the 1-3-1 defense, if you turn the ball over, they’ll have the main guy run for an easy basket. Connor Showalter was able to score a lot of his points that way tonight. We’ll watch the film and learn from this.”
Ignacio (14-3, 9-1 SJBL) was led by Bryce Finn with 24 points. Triston Thompson and Joe Garcia each had nine points, but they all came in the first half. Dylan Labarthe scored five off of the bench, while the usually-solid Brady McCaw was kept off of the scoreboard and fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Mancos (15-2, 9-1 SJBL) also got contributions from Evan Sehnert, who scored 14 points with 12 from 3-point range.
The Bobcats made 10 3-pointers on the night, outscored the Bluejays’ bench 18-8, and Mancos struggled from the free-throw line, as it went 5-of-17. Still, the Bluejays’ offensive rebounding proved to be the difference. Mancos scored six putback baskets from missed free throws and had 10 more easy layups either off turnovers or Ignacio’s inability to get back on defense.
“We did a great job of pursuing the ball on the offensive glass,” Mancos head coach Elijah Knepper said. “That’s what really fueled our run later in the game in the third quarter. It was close first half, but we were able to keep getting second-chance opportunities in the third, and that really helped us get ahead.”
Ignacio had its largest lead of the game midway through the second quarter at 27-21, but the Bluejays closed strong. Sehnert made a 3-pointer from the far corner just before halftime to give the Bluejays a 32-31 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Ignacio tried to stay alive through its quick transition opportunities, but Sehnert banked in his second 3-pointer of the night to make it 37-33. The Bluejays went up by 10 at 49-39 after three quarters. In the fourth, Hunter Goodwin hit two more 3s to put the Bluejays up 12, which became too much for IHS to mount a comeback.
Ignacio will host 1A foe Sierra Grande (6-11, 4-4 1A Southern Peaks) at 5:30 p.m. Friday, while Mancos will travel to Telluride (7-11, 5-5 SJBL) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Girls basketball Bayfield had consistent scoring against Sargent, and the Wolverines never trailed in a 57-30 home win.
Macee Schulz led the Wolverines (8-10, 3-6 3A Intermountain League) with 21 points, while Maddy Oltmanns had 13. Madison Wells and Cayanne Carlson each had eight points.
“I thought overall we played a pretty solid game,” said BHS head coach Josh Kitchen. “We had a few little lulls in the second half, but we started the third quarter strong. That’s been one thing that we’ve been working on, and we looked good out of halftime. Our scoring was pretty consistent throughout the night, and we also played solid defense.”
Sargent (8-9, 3-1 2A Southern Peaks) got off to a slow start, and Bayfield took a 30-13 lead at halftime.
The Wolverines will end league play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 4 Pagosa Springs (14-3, 8-1 IML).
“We want to go over there and challenge them,” Kitchen said. “We believe we can compete with them and have believed it for a long time. They’re a well-coached team and don’t make mistakes, so if we are going to compete, we have to limit our turnovers, make our free throws and get some lucky bounces.”
Ignacio got off to a slow start Tuesday against Mancos on the road but rebounded well to win 44-18.
The Bobcats (13-5, 8-0 SJBL) were led by Larissa Gallegos with 16 points. Both Charlize Valdez and Jayden Brunson had 10 points, and Brunson made three 3-pointers. Mancos (3-15, 3-7 SJBL) was led by Rhiey Montoya with six points.
Ignacio had a narrow 17-10 at halftime, but the Bobcats used a big second half and held the Bluejays to just eight points. With the win, Ignacio took home another San Juan Basin League championship.
“It was a slow start for us again, and we forgot to get off the bus,” said IHS head coach Justa Whitt. “We picked it back up after halftime and looked more like ourselves. Happy to be league champs and we’re looking forward to a more challenging game on Friday against Pagosa.”
IHS will host Pagosa Springs at 5:30 p.m. Friday at IHS.