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Trace Crane’s four treys in fourth propels Ignacio in playoff win over Bayfield

Ignacio totals 13 3-pointers in 64-45 postseason win
Bayfield junior Cooper Roderick (30) looks for room around Ignacio's Devante Montoya (11) Tuesday night inside IHS Gymnasium. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Happy to watch teammates, and particularly the opposing team, swarm the basketball when it went into the high post or even deeper into the paint, Trace Crane ducked out undetected and made himself an available passing option.

The Ignacio sophomore guard did so not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times during the fourth quarter Tuesday night, with visiting Bayfield closing a once-substantial gap on the scoreboard down to just 48-39.

But after positioning himself in the corner nearest his team’s bench, Crane not once, not twice, but thrice received perfect passes and splashed a crowd-rocking 3-pointer each time.

He then cashed in a fourth corner 3, and senior center Gabe Cox then sent Ignacio’s student section into a state of pandemonium by catching sophomore Ambrose Valdez’s transition lob off the backboard and hammering it down to secure a 64-45 win.

“We looked at each other right before going up – I was like, ‘It’s going off the board? I’m going to chase it down,’ I was just really glad to finish off this last home game and … like, make a statement,” said Cox, who finished with a game-high 16 points as Ignacio advanced to the tournament’s two-day bracket phase.

Ignacio improved to 8-12 overall, while Bayfield fell to 3-17.

Wolverines junior Cooper Roderick Roderick – who fouled out with 0:05.6 left – and junior Lincoln Williams each scored a team-leading 12 points in the season-ending defeat. Senior Cody Ross ended up with nine points, including a 3-pointer during a 9-0 run concluding the second quarter.

“Tough loss, but they battled hard. They’ve been resilient all year,” Bayfield coach Damon White Thunder said. “Never given up. And shout out to (the Bobcats), man. Those kids are great shooters and … knocked down shots when we didn’t.”

All told, Ignacio canned 13 treys compared to Bayfield’s five.

Seniors Phillip Quintana (6 points) and Devante Montoya (9 points) both hit 3-pointers late in the first quarter to give Ignacio a 15-6 lead. Bayfield’s Vincent McCullough trimmed the lead down to 15-10 with a take inside and 5:54 left before halftime, but Cox countered with back-to-back second-chance cleanups, and Ignacio’s advantage quickly regrew to 24-10 after Cox assisted on a 3 by senior Trajan Garcia, and Valdez led Crane for an easy transition layup.

Finding his outside shot at the right time of year, Montoya swished two treys during the third, as did Valdez (8 points), and sophomore Sonny Flores sank one as Ignacio outscored Bayfield 18-12 to begin the fourth quarter ahead 42-31.

Up next, IHS will make the short drive to BHS Gymnasium for a Friday afternoon semifinal game against Centauri (14-5), starting at 3:30 p.m.

“We’ve got to continue to shoot from the outside, play inside-out – just got to play our basketball,” Cox said. “It’s going to be tough for sure, not going to be an easy path, but we’ll take whatever comes at us and win or lose we’ll keep our heads high.”

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