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Wolverines persevere at home past Panthers
Written by: Joel Priest
Wolverine Taed Heydinger (20) looks to pass around Piedra Vista's Troy Dixon during Tuesday night's home action at BHS. The boys defeated PV 75-64, while the BHS girls tried against Piedra, coming up short 59 to 66.
Emanating from Bayfield’s ‘Rowdy Crowd,’ late-game chants of ‘Start the bus!’ on Jan. 21 hadn’t been shouted so loudly inside BHS Gymnasium for quite a long time.
Not only did it reflect the boys’ resurgence this season so far, it also was a relieved saving of face.
Its first-quarter attempt at the familiar ‘We can’t hear you!’ cadence—directed at the fans up from Farmington, New Mexico—had backfired miserably; not only were the Wolverines trailing at the time, 12-6, but Piedra Vista junior guard Troy Dixon then delivered the animated mob a laminated ‘HUSH!’ with a three-pointer right in its collective eye.
Perhaps that was why the Panther backers—whose side had prevailed in the teams’ previous [Jan. 11, in Aztec, N.M.] meeting—seemed to take a 75-64 loss in what-goes-around-comes-around stride; similarly confident shooting was what the situation required to produce a winner.
And BHS junior Dillon Hoselton fit the bill, knocking down two critical treys in the fourth.
“Big shots at the right times—everything that kid does is at the right time!” said classmate Preston Hardy. “He could have three points the whole game, but those…will be the biggest points of the game.”
But Hoselton (15 points) was far from the only star in Bayfield’s 47-31 second-half performance. Hardy, whose shooting range from 15-17 feet was on display in the first half, kept working closer to the hoop and finished with a game-high 23 points—15 of them coming, like Hoselton’s, in the second half.
The pair also combined to sink ten of eleven free throws—the lone miss coming off Hardy’s hand in the second quarter, in which BHS trimmed a 19-13 first-quarter deficit down to as little as 24-22 before PVHS post Dillon Mason gave the guests some breathing room at halftime, 33-28, with a late bucket.
“We played really well in the second half. The first half we came out slow—like we usually do—but the second half, after the talk in the locker room, we played really good,” Hoselton said. “Started shooting the ball well.”
Well enough in the third quarter to dull the effects of triples by Dixon (18 points), senior forward Isaiah Valdez (14) and junior reserve guard Kris Todacheeny, enough so to at last tie the score at 38-38 on a Hoselton layup with 3:29 left, and well enough to go into the final frame ahead 51 to 50.
“In the locker room Coach [Randy Stephens] ripped us a little bit; he said we need to come together—his main thing was ‘Come together,’” said Hardy, of the Wolverines’ halftime chat.
“Same thing last Friday against Monte Vista: Started the first half slow, second half we finally start coming together. We’ve got to start that from the beginning; it’s going to get tough.”
With 11 second-half points against the Pirates, Hoselton had keyed Bayfield’s climb out of a 30-19 halftime hole—and tense 56-50 victory beginning 3A Intermountain League play—and was again up to the task against the Panthers (10-8, 0-0 District 1-4A). And, again, he wasn’t alone.
Junior guard Trevor Gabbard, who’d netted all his seven points against MVHS in the third and fourth quarters, again caught fire later and booked ten (of his 13) in the second half against Piedra Vista.
Sophomore forward Zane Phelps finished the game with nine, sophomore guard Taed Heydinger had five, junior guard Conner Kennedy four, senior guard Geoff Pope three, junior forward Aubry Brown two and soph guard Brody McGhehey one.
As well as a tone-setting miss of an attempted buzzer-beating three-point heave ending the first quarter from well beyond midcourt, which hit both the front and back of the rim—and hovered over the hoop after each bounce—before finally falling away. But still keeping the fans energized.
Mason finished with eight points for the Panthers, and senior guard Alonzo Araiza had nine.
Improving to 6-4 overall (1-0 IML), Bayfield travels tonight to Pagosa Springs (4-7, 0-1), which fell at home Tuesday, 59-38, to 2A’s top-ranked Ignacio Bobcats (10-0, 2-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin).
“We want to beat them. And we want to beat ’em bad,” said Hardy of the defending 3A State Champions. “So we’re just going to build off this game; what we’re going to focus on the next few days in practice is that second half, and turning that into Pagosa’s first half. If we do that we’ll be fine.”
“Come out of the gate ready, you know?”
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