The 54-44 victory marked the 10th overall for the Bluejays this season and the fifth in the San Juan Basin League, where the Bluejays sit third overall behind Dolores and league-leading Ignacio.
Among the factors contributing to Mancos’ victory over Ridgway was the team’s stout defense, which rotated between man-to-man and a 2-3 zone and bothered Ridgway scorers throughout the night.
“Our defense was really top-notch, and everyone was playing hard,” Mancos head coach James Lewis said. “We had good communication, and we played good team defense.”
Also crucial for the Bluejays was the power of sophomore Caden Showalter, who dominated the paint and scored a team-high 20 points, and the precision of senior Caleb Yoder, who nailed several jump shots and chipped in 18.
Showalter was especially effective during the first quarter as the 6-foot-4 forward scored ten first-quarter points, including two pretty turnaround jumpers from the left block, which helped Mancos build a 15-12 first-quarter lead.
“I just wanted to come out aggressive and play my game,” Showalter said. “I wanted to use my size and score.”
While Showalter dominated the paint, aggressive perimeter defense by freshman Christian Cova and sophomores Anthony Medina and Sonny Webb limited Ridgway’s scoring opportunities, and after a fast-break layup by Cova and a 3-pointer from the left wing by Webb, Mancos extended its lead to 29-18 late in the second quarter and carried a 29-20 lead into halftime.
“As the season has gone on, (Webb, Cova and Medina) have started to become more confident,” Lewis said. “They started out the season a little hesitant and not wanting to take on too much of a leadership role, but they’re really picked it up, and they’re feeling a little more comfortable with their outside shooting and their all-around games.”
Ahead 29-20 to begin the third quarter, the Bluejays consistently looked to Yoder and the senior guard responded with 13 second-half points, which included four consecutive free throws early in the fourth quarter to extend his team’s lead to 48-34.
Complementing solid scoring nights from Showalter and Yoder, Webb scored six points, senior Jake McKie scored five points, and Cova scored four. Seven Bluejays players scored overall.
With five regular season league games remaining in its season, Mancos will look to continue its trek up the league standings when it takes on Dove Creek on the road on Feb. 6.
“We want to get past districts and regionals and see where we go from there,” said Webb.