Log In

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

Through the fire

IHS bench players prove they belong

PUEBLO – Ignacio head boys basketball coach Chris Valdez admitted that he didn’t think his bench was ready to play in the Final Four.

The Bobcats needed them anyway against Sanford, the defending state champions, Friday in Pueblo.

Nick Herrera, Anthony Manzanares and Tucker Ward all needed to leave the CHSAA Class 2A State Championships semifinal with foul trouble, bringing in players that normally only see the floor at the end of blowouts.

Austin McCaw, Kruz Pardo and Xavier Reynolds acquitted themselves well in the highest pressure situation IHS played in all year.

“I thought, at first, ‘these guys may not be ready, they’re getting thrown in the fire,’” Valdez said.

The Bobcats’ starters had more faith in their substitutes.

Wyatt Hayes and Adison Jones played all 32 minutes in the game and didn’t change how they played.

“They’ve been playing against us, so they know what they’re doing,” said Jones, son of Greg Jones and Latisha Taylor. “I had confidence in them.”

Pardo, a freshman, scored a career-high eight points and made his eighth 3-pointer of the year along with a layup. He played the largest minutes load of the group, replacing Manzanares and Ward in stretches.

“With the past couple games – coach calls it four Saturdays with districts, regionals, all that – I’ve gotten less nervous,” said Pardo, son of Arnulfo and Heather Pardo. “In this game, he said be comfortable. I just went out there and relaxed.”

Reynolds couldn’t find comfort as easily. A senior who hasn’t played much varsity basketball, Reynolds missed his four free-throw attempts in the game.

“I thought we could use a few more free throws out of Xavier,” Valdez said.

McCaw didn’t score or attempt any free throws but filled the role he’s been occupying the past couple games, providing defense and rebounding in relief of Herrera and Jones in the post.

All three players will be available when, and if, the Bobcats need them in Saturday’s third-place game. That will be the last time Reynolds steps on a basketball floor for the Bobcats, but McCaw and Pardo will return to an IHS team next season that only will lose two seniors to graduation.

“I thought Kruz did a good job hitting a couple baskets, moving the ball around, staying level-headed,” Valdez said. “He’ll be a big part of what we do next year.”


Mar 13, 2015
Sanford bests Ignacio in Final Four – again

Reader Comments