The Mancos/Dolores rivalry lived up to the hype once again on Tuesday night in Dolores.
The varsity girls scrapped back and forth for two quarters – with Dolores leading 15-14 at the break – but the home Bears picked up the tempo and began to pull away in the third.
Dolores senior Madi Archuleta knocked down four 3-pointers in the first three frames and finished with a game-high 14 points. But after building a seven-point lead in the fourth, the Lady Bears grew flustered and allowed Mancos to claw its way back in.
Scores by Emily Cole and a 3-pointer by Brittney Peacock pulled the visiting Jays within four, down 32-28 with less than two minutes remaining. And then with 24 seconds left on the game clock, Mancos guard Isis Jaime was fouled and sent to the line for a one-and-one.
The Blue Jays freshman looked relaxed as Sunday morning in the high-pressure situation, and she calmly stepped to the stripe and knocked down two freebies to bring Mancos within two.
After a missed Dolores shot and Mancos rebound and timeout, the Jays had one more opportunity with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Inbounding from ¾ court, Cole rolled the ball to Kasey Wallace, who scooped it up around half court and fired it ahead to Jaime.
From the right wing, Jaime released a 3-pointer just before the horn, but the would-be game winner was just inches off, bouncing off the back of the rim as Dolores held on to win 32-30.
Still, Mancos head coach Cory Cole was proud of the way his team came back and gave themselves an opportunity to steal a W.
“I loved the fight,” he said. “I loved the intensity. Our freshman, Isis, she really grew up tonight. She looked really good.”
“This is the best game we’ve played, we just didn’t hit our shots,” he continued. “We didn’t hit our shots, we had some turnovers and we allowed three pointers. Other than that we did okay.”
Dolores head coach Tiffany Hill was happy with the win, but she said that she hopes her team learns from the experience after nearly giving away a fourth-quarter lead.
“They’re young, so they get excited and try to push it when I want them to slow it down,” she explained. “So I think a lot of that is just experience and just learning to slow the pace of the game down and knowing when the clock is on our side and when it’s not.”
Archuleta scored 14 in the win for Dolores, and Tatum Majors added nine.
Peacock led the Lady Jays with eight points, Emily Cole finished with seven and Jaime and Emma Most each scored six.
The following boys game played out in similar fashion.
The Dolores Bears came out on fire and led 20-7 after the first quarter, but they scored only six in the second frame and the Blue Jays settled down and trailed just 26-20 at the break.
The two teams went back and forth in the third quarter.
Dolores sophomore Tristen Swagerty answered a 3-pointer by Mancos freshman Hunter Goodwin with a triple of his own. Caleb Yoder got the Mancos faithful back into it with an old fashioned three-point play. And then Swagerty knocked down another from long range as the Bears extended their lead to eight entering the fourth quarter.
Swagerty’s two third-quarter triples came after he had tallied seven points in the opening frame, and he finished the contest with a game-high 17.
“It just happened for him,” said Dolores head coach Larry Schwartz. “That just all came to him out of the offense and he just did what he does best. He’s just so dang athletic.”
But just like in the girls game, Dolores’ lead wasn’t safe.
Mancos freshman Caden Showalter got buckets inside and freshman Anthony Medina, who hit a 3-pointer and finished with five points in the third quarter, came up with a steal and fastbreak score to pull the Jays within four.
“He’s always a potential spark, I mean he’s a great athlete and he has great instincts,” Mancos head coach Ed Aiken said of Medina. “As a freshman, he hasn’t really found his full stride until this game tonight. The performance tonight is obviously something that is going to boost his confidence going forward. So I’m excited to see him and what he can do as a player once he gets a little more experience and gets a little more confidence.”
Trailing 48-44 with 48 seconds remaining, Aiken called on Yoder.
Coming off an inbounds play, Yoder popped into the corner and found nothing but net on a clutch 3-pointer to pull the Jays within one.
Dolores later got a look that they wanted in an attempt to put things away, but missed and Mancos regained possession with 18.2 seconds remaining.
After pushing the ball the length of the floor, the Jays went inside.
Both Showalter and Hunter Hoover put up contested shots in the paint, but they just wouldn’t fall. And after Dolores grabbed control and was fouled and sent to the line with 1.2 seconds left, Yoder’s full-court heave sailed wide as the Bears escaped with a 48-47 win.
“It still stings, but certainly that game was revolutionary for us,” said Aiken. “There was a lot of confidence in that locker room. It hurts to lose at the end of the game, but I think going forward there are going to be high spirits. That was easily the best game we’ve played.”
Swagerty finished with a game-high 17 points in the win, and Dolores senior Tristan Medina finished with 13.
Yoder led Mancos with 11 points, and Showalter and Medina each finished with nine.
Schwartz, who is no stranger to the rivalry, said that it was a great game.
“The bench was fantastic and the crowd was amazing, both ways,” he said. “It was a great rivalry game.”
And Aiken, in his first year at Mancos, enjoyed his first taste of the feud.
“That’s not only my first Mancos/Dolores game, that’s my first really high-intensity, down-to-the-wire game as a coach,” he said. “So even though it wasn’t a win in the ledger, it will be something that I’ll remember. It was a pretty special game for me.”