For the Dolores High School boys basketball team, the final three games of the season proved to be a painful experience.
That said, the team's overall progress over the course of those games certainly provides hope for the future.
Bears lose to Ridgway
Opening the week at home against Ridgway on Feb. 21, the Bears played hard, soundly defeated, 60-45.
Unlike the Bears' previous matchups against Ridgway, however, things remained tight throughout the first half, which ended with Dolores trailing 24-16.
Eventually, Ridgway's balanced attack proved too much for the Bears to handle however as Dolores was outscored 19-15 in the third quarter and 17-14 in the fourth.
Leading Ridgway in scoring were sophomore Grant Saville (18 points), senior Nathan Hagemeyer (15 points) and senior Darren Koy Reed (10 points).
Bears fall in home matchup versus Mancos
Looking to pick up a home win against Mancos on Feb. 22, the Bears were again defeated, falling 81-52 to their archrivals.
Keying the Dolores loss was a dreadful first half that saw the Bears fall behind 53-18.
Although Dolores managed to outscore Mancos 34-28 in the second half, the first half deficit proved too much for the Bears to overcome.
With the loss, the Bears were placed in a pigtail game versus Mancos with the winner moving on to the San Juan Basin League District 3 Tournament.
Bears lose to Mancos on road
Looking to extend their season in Mancos on Feb. 25, the Bears played their finest game of the year, yet lost 51-23.
Utilizing a slow paced, ball-control oriented offense early, the Bears jumped out to an 8-4 lead on the strength of six first quarter points from Mikeal Ford.
The Bluejays responded however, using a 15-3 run to pull ahead 19-13 entering the second quarter.
After the second quarter ended with the Bears trailing 27-19, the Bluejays began to pull away, building a 34-23 lead by the end of the third quarter and outscoring Dolores 17-0 in the fourth.
Even with the disappointing loss however, the Bears were clearly pleased with their improvements.
"We finally stuck to our game plan and listened to coach," said Bears guard Jakob Rudosky. "We didn't win the game, but it was a respectable score."
"I thought we gave them a great game for three quarters," added Bears' head coach Larry Schwartz.
The Bears finished the season with a 4-16 record.