Facing off against Nucla in the play-in game of the Class 1A District 1 Tournament on Feb. 20, the Dove Creek High School boys basketball team dug deep when it mattered most and came away with a 46-44 victory.
Keying the victory was a standout offensive performances from freshman Gauge Thompson, who scored a game-high 15 points and secured seven rebounds. Junior Ryan Martinez netted 13 points and pulled down five rebounds.
Other Bulldog scorers included sophomore Ty Smith with nine points, senior Derek Kibel with four, freshman Hayden Gray with three and freshman Branson Smith with four.
Nucla was led by senior Mike Bird, who scored 12 points. Junior Leo Zunich netted nine.
Dove Creek trailed 13-9 at the end of the first quarter and 25-17 at halftime before outscoring Nucla 19-3 thanks to a third-quarter run that proved to be the difference in the game.
Dove Creek improved to 7-13 on the season with the victory and will advance to a district semifinals against top seed De Beque High School, which defeated the Bulldogs 67-18 earlier this season. The game is 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Grand Valley High School in Parachute.