If its final two games of the regular season are any indication, the Mancos High School boys basketball team appears to be peaking at the right time.
Opening the final week of the season at home against Ignacio on Feb. 15, the Bluejays gave the San Juan Basin League’s top team all it could handle in a hotly contested 53-50 loss.
Mancos opened up a 16-12 first-quarter lead thanks to a balanced attack led by sophomore Caden Showalter and senior Caleb Yoder.
Ignacio regained its composure during the second quarter and carried a 24-23 lead into halftime before the Bluejays regained momentum after halftime and pulled ahead 39-35 entering the final quarter.
The gritty Bobcats took control over the final eight minutes and outscored the Bluejays 18-11 in the fourth quarter to lock up a three-point victory.
Showalter led the Bluejays in scoring with 17 points and pulled down a team-high 17 rebounds. Yoder scored 10 points and dished out five assists, while junior Hunter Hoover scored eight points and senior Jake McKie scored seven.
Ignacio improved to 13-4 overall and 10-1 in the SJBL with the win. Mancos fell to 13-5 overall and 8-4 in the SJBL.
One day after losing to Ignacio, the Bluejays traveled to face league-rival Dolores and coasted to a 51-29 win. The Mancos victory stood in stark contrast to a game between the two teams earlier this season that ended with a 73-66 overtime victory for Dolores.
Mancos led 16-8 at the end of the first quarter and 24-17 at halftime before outscoring Dolores 17-2 in the third quarter to build a 41-19 lead heading into the game’s final eight minutes.
Showalter led the Bluejays in scoring with 21 points and 14 rebounds, Yoder chipped in 14 points, Goodwin scored five, and Hoover scored four.
Dolores was led in scoring by Tristan Swagerty, who scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Dakota Smith, who scored eight points and registered four rebounds.
With the win, Mancos closed out its regular season with a 14-5 record overall and a 9-4 record in the SJBL. The Bluejays enter this weekend’s Class 2A District 3 Tournament as the district’s second-seeded team.
Mancos will open the tournament against third-seeded Telluride at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. The game will be played at Montezuma-Cortez High School. Further district tournament games will be played on Feb. 24, and the top three will advance to regionals.