Dolores started fast, then held off rival Mancos for the win in another chapter of this historic girls basketball rivalry.
You win and you win ugly, Dolores coach John McHenry said about the rivalry.
The Lady Bears (7-4, 5-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) stormed Mancos High School Friday night on a mission. Dolores scored the games first 16 points en route to a 34-24 win.
It wasnt until Emily Funmakers 15-footer at the 1-minute mark of the first quarter when the Lady Bluejays (3-5, 2-2 2A/1A SJBL) finally got on the board.
Weve been off for four weeks. Thats the way we played in the first half, Mancos coach Craig Paschal said. Once we got rolling, it was more of a game. Hopefully, we can start playing four quarters.
The Lady Bears led 16-2 after the first quarter and 26-8 at halftime in what appeared to be a blowout.
However, the Lady Bluejays had an extra shot of energy boost in the third quarter. Dolores on the other hand, all of a sudden lacked its killer instinct.
Boy, first half really good. Second half, really bad, McHenry said. We let them get back. We never panicked, though.
Mancos chipped away at its deficit with tough, scrappy defense, forcing 17 second half turnovers. The offensive scoring of seniors Erica Blackburn and Devin Kroeker brought the home team closer. The Lady Bluejays shut out the Lady Bears in the third, 8-0, to trail just 26-16 going into the fourth quarter.
We just kind of wanted to try and win a quarter, Paschal said. No point in worrying about the whole game at that point. We were just trying to chip away.
Mancos extended its scoring run to 10-0 and it was just 26-18. The home sellout crowd was cheering with excitement.
Dolores finally stepped up and silenced the home faithful when Katlynn McGee made a driving layup. The Lady Bears scoreless streak spanned nine minutes. Cydney McHenry sank two free throws the next offensive possession, and Dolores led 30-18.
Megan Hess and Jacey Cox scored back-to-back buckets for the Lady Bluejays to once again make it an 8-point game at 30-22. Mancos wouldnt get any closer, though, as Dolores won a hard fought, 10-point game.
It wasnt the best win, but I think the rivalry was in our head, Lady Bears post player Brianna Schwartz said. When they come home (to Dolores on Feb. 4), were going to really take them.
McGee scored a game high for Dolores with 12 points. Schwartz had 10 and disrupted the Lady Bluejays with tenacious defense.
I like to just help my team out, and get in there and get whatever comes my way, Schwartz said. I usually get my points from free throws. But today, I was more calm.
Blackburn and Taylor Goff totaled six points apiece for Mancos, while Kroeker recorded four points.
I think we got ourselves more together toward the end, Kroeker said. We need to focus on doing that for the whole game. I felt a lot better about this game than past games. Were getting there. Were learning from a new coach. Were learning how to work with that and to work with each other even more.
The Lady Bluejays play again tonight at Bayfield at 5:30 p.m.
Dolores, meanwhile, suited up Saturday at home versus Telluride. The Lady Bears kept their winning streak alive with their fifth straight. It was a much better offensive performance in a 49-37 victory.
It was a great game. One of the best the girls have played all year, John McHenry said. You go from having what we did the night before, to just not getting anything to just a great game.
McGee hit four 3-pointers for a 15-point game. Lexi Atkinson nailed three treys to have 13 total points, while Cydney McHenry had 11.
Dolores did keep up their stingy defense, too.
We played phenomenal defense, John McHenry said. We wouldnt allow the Telluride girls to get going. We also played super great offense. Just moving the ball around, waiting for the right wing (player) to come open.
The Lady Bears will play another rivalry game at Dove Creek on Friday at 4 p.m. Dolores travels to Norwood on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com.