Doing their best to imitate the Golden State Warriors, Mancos High School put on a shooting clinic on Jan. 19 and outgunned the Ridgway Demons, 73-47.
The breadth of the Bluejays offensive output during the first quarter was especially impressive as Mancos scored 27 points in eight minutes and built a 27-12 lead. Junior Caden Showalter scored 10 points in the first quarter, and sophomore Connor Showalter added nine.
“I thought our first half was our best offensive half of basketball that we’ve had this whole year,” Mancos head coach Elijah Knepper said. “We moved the ball, and I think we had under five turnovers in the first half. We really valued each possession, and we pounded the ball inside to Caden (Showalter) and let him make decisions out of the post.”
While ball movement and post play keyed the Bluejays attack early in the contest, aggressive defense and fast-break points carried Mancos later in the first half as sophomore point guard Christian Cova came through with numerous steals and assists.
During an impressive stretch in the fourth quarter, Cova stole the ball twice in one minute and scored two fast-break layups. The sophomore picked up a third steal moments later and fed the ball ahead to freshman Chase Moore for an easy layup.
“Coach said that defense leads to good offense,” Cova said. “Us being aggressive and pushing the ball gets us good shots.”
Among the storylines from the win was the play of freshman Evan Sehnert, who filled in for senior starter Vassar Stephens and scored four points during several minutes of play.
After the contest, Sehnert spoke about the nerves that accompanied his first varsity start and noted that he will be glad when Stephens, who serves as a role model for several of the team’s younger players, returns.
“I was pretty nervous starting as a freshman in the spot of someone who is a great role model for me,” Sehnert said. “To fill in for someone as good and as big as (Stephens), that inspired me.”
Mancos was led in scoring by Connor Showalter, who scored 24 points and drained a season-high five three-point field goals. Caden Showalter scored 16 points, Cova scored 11, and senior Hunter Hoover scored nine.
Now 7-4 overall on the season and 4-0 in the San Juan Basin League, Mancos will host rival Dolores at the Mancos Performance Center on Jan. 22.
“Obviously, we’re on a pretty good roll right now,” Knepper said. “We’ve won three games in a row, and we’re glad to see that. We have a ton of respect for Dolores and what they’re going to bring. Obviously, Tristen Swagerty is a great player who is capable of putting up 30 or 40 in a game, so we’re going to back to the drawing board on Monday and figure out how we want to attack (Dolores) offensively and defensively.”