DOVE CREEK – After 32 regulation minutes of 2A/1A San Juan Basin League girls hoops Tuesday evening inside The Dawghouse, the scoreboard showed visiting Ignacio as decisive 67-41 victors.
But that didn’t come without some serious doings.
With senior center Cassie Gatlin going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line during the fourth quarter alone and junior forward Grace Hatfield 6-of-8 for the game, Dove Creek nearly matched the 10-ranked Class 2A Lady Bobcats point for point after intermission.
“We went in at half and I said, ‘Keep the same game plan; you guys are right there with them!’” said coach Julie Kibel. “‘Hustle, keep moving the ball, play good D!’”
“Then they got in foul trouble,” she said, “and I told my girls, ‘Chip away, chip away!’”
And to that extent, the Lady Bulldogs (5-3, 1-1 SJBL) were quite successful.
IHS senior forward/center Makayla Howell, whose game-high 12 points Hatfield would equal, would foul out with 3:13 remaining in the game, while senior forward Larissa Gallegos would finish with four personal fouls. Guards Ebonee Gomez, Jayden Brunson and Monika Lucero each ended up with three fouls, while junior Charlize Valdez picked up a first-quarter technical foul as the guests racked up 24 infractions.
Whistled for just 16, DCHS managed to go 16-of-26 from the charity stripe (Ignacio went 16-of-22) overall, and a life-saving 14-of-19 during a second half narrowly won by the enemy, 30-26.
Gatlin totaled 11 points and Buffington six, while junior Angel Toledo provided a fourth-quarter spark with her fast-break four, but 10 of Ignacio’s 11 available players netted at least two points, and the squad’s incendiary first-quarter shooting immediately put Dove Creek in comeback mode.
Up next, the Lady Bulldogs will welcome interstate rival Monticello, Utah, this Friday, with DCHS having already nipped the Lady Bucks (UHSAA Class 2A) 49-44 across the border earlier this season. Standing just 2-8 overall as of Thursday afternoon, MHS will have prepared for the rematch by hosting Region 16 foe Gunnison Valley (6-5) that evening.
“I like the Ignacio games, the Monticello games,” Kibel said. “Those are the kind of games we need; they get us ready for the next level after the (regular) season’s over and we start districts.”