Log In

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

The ‘Dame’ Game: Former Ignacio assistant ready to lead Bayfield basketball

Damon White Thunder enters his first season coaching Wolverines
Seen instructing from Ignacio's bench during a JV game played inside Sun Ute Community Center's gym in the 2019-20 season, former IHS assistant coach Damon White Thunder will be leading Bayfield's 2023-24 varsity boys basketball team. (Courtesy of Joel Priest)

There will be a noticeable Ignacio influence on Bayfield basketball this winter.

With former Bobcats Bryce Finn and Dylan Labarthe on board as assistants, new head coach Damon White Thunder knows the irony will be hard to avoid.

With his Wolverines eager to get the 2023-24 season underway at this weekend’s Wolf Creek Classic in Pagosa Springs, White Thunder is perfectly fine with that.

“We’re mirroring that, totally,” he said. “It’s a successful program, so why not? But with that being said, I’m also putting my own twist on things … trying to build this program. Whether that be us going to watch the middle-school kids – I’ve gone up there, volunteered practice time with them – or going to support at all the girls’ games, we’re just trying to make Bayfield Basketball a culture.”

White Thunder also wants to build on what Bayfield did last year, as it beat Ignacio twice.

White Thunder already envisions what his starting lineup will look like. Anchored by seniors Cody Ross and Rathan Brinkerhoff, Bayfield’s primary core will also include junior Lincoln Williams, junior Cooper Roderick and sophomore Kingston Martinez. Williams is the only player who saw extensive varsity minutes in the 2022-23 season.

“Going back to last year, (Bayfield was) so senior-heavy that a lot of our guys (now) didn’t get to play,” White Thunder said. “So it’s kind of a brand-new system – new defense, new offense – and … basically a new team, which is awesome.”

After Bayfield lost recent players like Lance Mazur, Jackson Queen, Caden Wood and Max Meyers to graduation, White Thunder appreciates the chance to oversee a fresh start with mostly fresh faces.

“I’m excited about the team we’ve got this year; they’ve been putting in work at the open gyms and everything – even the football players had been participating quite a bit,” he said. “So we’re kind of ahead of where I thought we’d be, which is good. Preparations are going well; offense and defense, we’re looking good.”

Reader Comments