Perhaps the holidays are coming at a good time for Dolores basketball. Three games in less than a week against top 2A competition left the Bears with a full understanding of the challenges ahead. The Bears dropped to 0-3 in that stretch against state-ranked Del Norte by a 78–44 score.
Facing one of the best individual talents in the region in Del Norte senior wing Carlos Parra, the Bears (3-4) knew they could ill-afford to get into a three-point shooting contest with the Tigers. However, Del Norte (6-2) caught the Bears flat-footed, burying five treys in the opening frame. Parra accounted for three of the triples as the visitors built the early momentum.
An NBA-range three from Parra prompted frustrated Dolores head coach Larry Schwartz to take a timeout with his squad trailing 18-9.
Dolores senior Chris Rudosky single-handedly kept the Bears in the game with seven first quarter points.
Parra capped off a monstrous first quarter with an inbounds play lay-in with just a second remaining to give Del Norte their first double-figure lead of the night.
The Parra show continued into the second period, but this time, it was matched by a Tristen Swagerty shooting exhibition. After a scoreless opening quarter, Swagerty poured in 13 points in the second. He and Parra exchanged baskets in an action-packed second.
When he wasn’t scoring, Swagerty played the role of distributor, finding senior Justin Purkat for a corner three to close the gap to 36-29. That was as close as the Bears would get the rest of the way.
In spite of the Bears spirited rally, Del Norte answered every Bear run, including a 6-0 spurt before the break to take a 42-29 lead into the locker room. Parra scored an eye-popping 26 first half points for the visitors.
Dolores wore down in the second half, and while Parra’s productivity diminished in the second half, his teammates picked up the slack. The Tigers made 11 three-pointers on the night, including a Kade Glover trey that capped the opening possession of the fourth quarter in which Del Norte amassed four consecutive offensive rebounds.
“We wore down tonight, having to chase those guys all over the floor,” assessed Schwartz after the loss.
The Bears were led on the night by 17 points from Swagerty, and seven points apiece for Purkat, Rudosky, and junior Dakota Smith.
Parra’s 35 points on the night headlined the night, but Izeah Petersen added 17 for the Tigers, thanks in part to five three-pointers. Glover added 11 more for the visitors.
“He’s tough,” said Schwartz of Parra, “we tried to wear him out a little bit, not even let him see the ball, but once he got it in his hands, he was incredible.”
Dolores hopes to learn from recent losses to Sargent, Ignacio, and Del Norte as they prepare for the holiday break. “That was a tough stretch,” admitted Schwartz, “but I did like what I saw in our man-to-man defense. We’ll take some time for the break, then get back on the floor to get ready for the big game right after the holidays.”
Dolores will enter 2018 with a trip to Mancos on Jan. 9 and the resumption of San Juan Basin League play.