The Ignacio Lady Bobcats defeated the Mancos Lady Jays on Tuesday after igniting a 34-0 run that began midway through the first quarter and didn’t end until Mancos’ Isis Jaime hit a three-pointer with 6:32 left in the third.
With 2:40 left before halftime, Ignacio’s Morgan Herrera sparked the devastating run with a steal from Mancos junior guard Emily Cole, and a lay-in out of a full-court press.
Herrera then scored consecutive baskets at the front of the Lady Bobcats’ press, took a feed from senior Avionne Gomez for another and a 30-4 advantage, then set up a Gomez three-pointer to put Ignacio ahead, 33-4.
Reserve guard Jayden Brunson also got into the act, confidently canning a 17-foot jumper. Reserve forward/center Shelcie Gosney capped off the half with a free throw in the waning seconds. Jaime’s transition hit from long range, following a Gomez free throw, made the score 41-7 and was the last of two field goals Ignacio allowed in a thorough 67-10 victory.
“We just pushed as hard as we could,” Herrera said, “and played our defense as hard as we can do it.”
Even when sophomore starting forward Larissa Gallegos exited the game early – she would return to the floor after the game on crutches – the Lady Bobcats didn’t miss a beat, with Gosney (11 points) and senior Allisianna Baker proving more than able to operate near the hoop offensively, and able to help bottle up Mancos freshman Madi Hale’s inside game.
“We really had to step up a lot from what Coach (Trae Seibel) wanted us to do,” said Baker, who totaled nine points and scored in each quarter. “He got mad at us at first – yelled at us for not boxing out, not playing our roles as good as we can.”
“He really had a lot of faith in us to finish ... and I think we played really good.”
The “finish” came in the form of a 9-0 fourth quarter played under CHSAA’s new mercy rule, running clock format, in which Ignacio’s starters sat the bench and observed the second unit’s work.
The start of the game, however, couldn’t have been better for the hard-luck Lady Jays (0-7, 0-3 2A/1A San Juan Basin) if affable skipper Cory Cole had planned it himself.
Mancos won the opening tip, and quickly managed two Emily Cole free throws in four tries as Gomez – who’d tied the state record for threes in a game (10) during the teams’ previous meeting inside the Ignacio gym late last season – picked up two personal fouls in only 55 seconds. Not included in the starting lineup, Herrera quickly went to work, logging two tying free throws with 6:51 left in the first quarter – the first two of what ended up being a game-high 19 points – and after Cole sank a mid-range jumper to bring Mancos back to 7-4, the Lady Cats (5-0, 3-0 SJBL) decided that was close enough.
Herrera’s aforementioned early steal and basket preceded a jumper by sophomore Makayla Howell and a Gomez 15-footer, putting Ignacio up 13-4 through the initial eight minutes. Five-of-12 from the foul line, Cole finished with seven points in defeat. Making just two three-balls, Gomez totaled 15 points and Howell six in victory as nine white jerseys scored at least one point apiece.
“We’re playing pretty good,” Baker said. “We haven’t peaked yet though, so once we peak we’re going to be really good!”