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Ignacio Bobcats crush Dove Creek Bulldogs, 53-32

Backups shine for Ignacio, which stops four-game slide
Ignacio senior Trajan Garcia (32) launches a three-point attempt before Dove Creek's Liam Hassell (3) can defend during IHS' home win Tuesday over the Bulldogs. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Ignacio Bobcats coach Chris Valdez was quite pleased Tuesday night that his substitutes, for a second straight game, actually packed more offensive punch – relieving pressure off his first unit, but also putting him in a pickle schematically.

“You know, our starters are more ‘defenders.’ Even (Gabe) Cox, he defends the rim. Devante (Montoya) and Phillip (Quintana) are great defenders, Coty Webb’s starting to be a great defender …. When we beat Alamosa, it was our defense that kept us in the game; we weren’t scoring – only scored, like, 35 points – and still won. So we’ve been kind of leaning toward that more,” Valdez explained in the wake of a 53-32 home win over nonleague foe Dove Creek.

Ignacio improved to 7-9 overall, while Dove Creek fell to 6-10.

The 1A Bulldogs managed to stay relatively close to the 3A Bobcats throughout the first quarter, trailing just 4-2 with 3:07 left after a basket by junior Liam Hassell.

However, Ignacio junior backup Charley Pargin knocked down his first of two 3-pointers, putting the Bobcats up 9-2, and later added another basket junior starter Coty Webb preserved Ignacio’s 11-6 advantage through eight minutes with a sideline steal just before the clock zeroed out.

Also entering the action as a reserve, senior Trajan Garcia began the second quarter sinking a straight-on, pullup 3-pointer assisted by Webb. The Bobcats then truly took control when Quintana swished a 17-footer and a bonus free throw – increasing Ignacio’s lead to 17-6 with 6:30 left.

Hassell finally got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard again with a deuce, but Bobcats sophomore starter Trace Crane and freshman backup Cayson Burcham responded with two-point buckets before Burcham nailed a trey with just 1:02 left until halftime, widening Ignacio’s lead to 24-8.

Dove Creek junior Sheldon Gardner made a basket and a free throw right before the intermission, but a Cox free throw and Webb triple beginning the third quarter showed Ignacio’s eagerness to pick up where they had left off.

Crane later collected an offensive rebound near the elbow, then in one motion strolled to the basket for a putback. Ignacio grew its lead to 34-13 with 3:45 left in the third and remained in control to the end.

“We had a couple kids sick and one out for grades, so it was nice to rotate through our people and give everybody a chance,” Valdez said. “And everybody did a positive thing. I thought the morale was a little better. The Bayfield game kind of overwhelmed them, and … we just kind of fell apart. So it was nice to see the kids come back and get a win.”

Ignacio’s reserves tallied 28 points. Flores actually ended up with a team-high 10 points, all coming in the second half. Cox booked nine, Pargin scored eight, Burcham had seven and Crane tallied six.

Hassell totaled a hard-earned 10 points for Dove Creek.

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