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Big runs=Big win for BHS
Written by: Joel Priest
Scoring chances were offered wholesale to both sides for the better part of the first half.
Fortunately for one squad, their opponents—on their home floor, no less—were unable to cash in Tuesday night while watching them collect a decisive cache of bargain-basement layups in a 72-46 win.
Overcoming a turnover-heavy first quarter, in which they swapped two-for-two with hosts Ignacio on the game’s first four possessions, and eventually found themselves trailing 7-6 with 2:53 left, the Lady Wolverines closed the period on a 15-0 run to lead 21-7 after eight minutes in IHS Gymnasium.
The Lady Bobcats recovered to close back to 25-19 on an inside bucket by junior Mariah Vigil, but a subsequent 13-2 spree, including 11 points by senior Kayla Strobel, put BHS ahead by 17 with 1:06 before halftime. Senior Keenan Moreta sank a free throw with 0:13 left for a 40-25 lead through two.
“Always when we play Ignacio…we always start off slow. We expect to go in there fast, but then they come in super fast—and we didn’t prepare for that, mentally,” Strobel said. “But then, by how much our coaches tell us we need to step up, we make adjustments as a team. And by the second, third, fourth quarters we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Senior Candace Shaw took a bump from IHS junior Pam Cotton on the opening trip downcourt and three-point attempt of the third quarter, and hit all three FT’s. After an Ignacio turnover, Strobel then took contact from junior Valerie Armstrong in the paint and sank another freebie.
Shaw drained two threes in short order, the latter stretching the lead out to 52-28, but when Lady Bobcat junior Michelle Simmons picked up her fourth personal foul with 19 seconds left—allowing Moreta to finish the frame with another 1-of-2 from the stripe—Bayfield was able to increase their pressure on Ignacio’s backcourt (sophomore Cloe Seibel also was in DQ danger with four fouls), and continue attacking with shots rarely from outside 6-to-8-foot range.
Seniors Taylor Harrison and Haley Goddard began the fourth with baskets inside, and Strobel soon followed another Goddard layup with one of her own for a swift 65-31 advantage, large enough for Ron Posey to begin clearing his bench.
IHS closed the game on a 15-7 rush, including a Seibel triple and four points from freshman Sky Cotton, but Armstrong (who’d given the ’Cats their first lead, at 3-2 on an early ‘and-one,’ and their aforementioned last) was held scoreless the full second half.
Simmons and Vigil led Ignacio with ten scattered points apiece, Armstrong totaled eight and Sky Cotton seven. Strobel finished her final BHS-IHS encounter with 26 points, 14 coming in the second quarter, and Shaw was close behind with 21 (eight in the first). Goddard finished with eight points and senior Breetta Moe six—on first-quarter treys, one unguarded from straight away with five ticks left.
Awaiting next weekend’s district tournament, the Lady ’Cats ended the regular season at 9-9 overall (7-5 2A/1A San Juan Basin League). Bayfield (15-3, 6-1 3A Intermountain) completed its initial 2011-12 slate against Monte Vista last night, but results were unavailable at press time.
Seniors Strobel, Shaw, Harrison, Moe, Tia Neeley, Moreta and Goddard—nearly all of BHS’ varsity roster—played their final regular-season home game against the Lady Pirates in the team’s bid to lock up the IML title before the loop’s district tournament next weekend (also to be at BHS).
“I think it sets us up good,” Neeley said of momentum gained from the Pine River Rivalry win. “But we need to buckle down and get our heads straight right now; we can’t play another game like this [turnover-wise] and expect to pull through.”
“We’ve been playing forever together,” Strobel said of the Lady Wolverines’ senior class, “and to have only one regular-season game left it’s upsetting. But I’m sure…we’re going to go through IML’s and get to regionals, then hopefully through regionals and stay together as long as we can until the end.”
Three of the IML’s five will advance and be seeded into the 32-team State Tournament bracket. Ignacio will go to the 2A-District 3 tourney at Montezuma-Cortez HS, with three of five crews also living to see another weekend.
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