It seemed like for every shot that Mancos attempted, Whitehorse took three.
Hosting Whitehorse in Mancos on Friday, the Blue Jays were unable to corral defensive rebounds to get stops, and the visiting Raiders took advantage of multiple opportunities to pull away in the second half.
The Raiders came out in a ¾-court press and forced a few Mancos turnovers early in the first quarter. However, once they settled down, the Blue Jays were able to get into their half-court sets and find open looks or get to the free-throw line.
“Props to them, we weren’t really expecting them to come out ¾,” said Mancos head coach Ed Aiken. “We’re new enough playing together that when we see something unexpected, it takes us a possession to figure it out. But we just had three guards facing the one guard front and we moved one into the middle and spread two out and it seemed to work.”
MHS freshman Caden Showalter led the Jays with seven points, Hunter Goodwin knocked down their only 3-pointer of the contest, and then Caleb Yoder hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer to end the first quarter with a 16-12 lead. But the home squad hit a lull in the second and the Raiders snatched up offensive rebounds and tacked on second-chance scores to enter the half with a 30-24 lead.
Mancos had leaned on Showalter to utilize his size advantage in the first half, and in the third quarter the Jays turned to sophomore Hunter Hoover. Hoover scored twice off of offensive rebounds and tallied six in the quarter to keep Mancos close, but Whitehorse was beginning to take control.
The Raiders pulled away in the fourth, both physically and on the scoreboard.
Using their speed to get easy fastbreak scores, the Raiders built a 16-point advantage in the final frame and went on to win 58-46.
Showalter led the Blue Jays with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Hoover nearly had his own, finishing with 13 points and nine boards.
Now 2-5 on the season and 0-1 in the San Juan Basin League, the Blue Jays will travel to Dolores on Tuesday for Aiken’s first rivalry game against the Bears (3-3, 0-1 SJBL).
“I’ve heard they’re pretty rambunctious games, or they can be,” said Aiken. “So hopefully we’ll make this one of those spicy games. We’d like to play a close game up there, and we’ve taken a look at Dolores a little bit and we happen to have a former Dolores guy on our coaching staff – so hopefully we’ll be competitive.”