Playing against Dolores High School in front of a raucous crowd on Jan. 22, the Mancos High School girls basketball team hit big shots down the stretch and walked away with a 34-29 victory.
The win marked the second straight for the Lady Jays, who have enjoyed increased success lately thanks to their ability to hit timely shots and lock down on the defensive end. After the game, Mancos sophomore Maddie Hale spoke about the keys to her team’s recent success.
“We just started practicing better, and we started getting better coaching,” Hale said. “It boosted our confidence, and it boosted our playing and we’re starting to do way better. Teamwork and communication have been the keys.”
While the Lady Jays’ increased cohesion was evident throughout their victory over Dolores, the team’s win was far from guaranteed until the final buzzer due to a gutsy effort by a Bears’ team that had no intention of going down easy.
After a competitive first half ended with Dolores leading 16-15, Mancos found success during the third quarter, thanks to several aggressive moves in the lane by Hale and five points from Isis Jaime, which came after a 3-point field goal and a long jump shot from the right wing.
A layup by Dolores junior McKenzie Howerton after a pretty backdoor cut the Lady Jays’ lead to 25-23 at the end of the third quarter and after an old-fashioned three-point play by Dolores senior Tatum Majors early in the fourth quarter, the Lady Bears found themselves leading 27-26.
A spate of clutch shots down the stretch, including a drive into the lane around three defenders and an athletic finish by Jaime, lifted the Lady Jays to victory, however, and after the game, Hale spoke about the excitement that accompanied her team’s big win.
“It was pretty exciting,” Hale said. “We were all pretty pumped in the locker room.”
The victory was especially gratifying for Mancos senior Ericka Peacock, who noted that she had not been part of a victory over Dolores since her sophomore year. Peacock noted her team’s play on the defensive end.
“We played tough defense for sure,” the Mancos senior said. “I think we’re just really drilling down in practice. Limiting turnovers and playing good defense is what we’ve really been working toward.”
Now 2-10 overall and 2-3 in the SJBL, Mancos will prepare for a road matchup against Telluride on Jan. 26. Dolores will look to improve on its record of 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the SJBL when it faces off against Nucla on Jan. 25.