Heading into a home matchup Tuesday against Ignacio High School, the Mancos High School girls basketball team knew that it would take a monumental effort to upset the San Juan Basin League’s top squad.
Even so, the Lady Jays gave it their all and kept the Bobcats on their toes throughout the opening half of a game that ended with the scoreboard favoring Ignacio, 44-18.
“We played them straight up during the first half, and we held them to 17 points, which I think that nobody in the league has done,” Mancos head coach Kerri Morgan said. “We just couldn’t score.”
Although offensive struggles haunted the Lady Jays all night, the score remained tight during a first quarter that ended with Ignacio leading 8-5, and into the second quarter, which ended with Ignacio leading 17-10.
High scorers for Mancos during the first half included junior Maddie Hale, who held her own in the paint and scored four points, and Tia Imel, who attacked the rim on multiple occasions and knocked down four free throws.
The wheels came off for the Lady Jays in the second half, however, as Ignacio scored 17 straight points and held Mancos scoreless until the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter when senior Kacey Wallace knocked down a free throw.
“Our offensive struggles were a product of not knowing when to attack the basket and missing little chippies when we had them,” Morgan said. “(Ignacio) played good defense; I’m not going to take anything away from them.”
Among the leading scorers for the Lady Jays was sophomore Rhiley Montoya, who scored five points. Hale and Imel each had four points for the Bluejays after the duo was held scoreless in the second half.
Ignacio was paced offensively by Larissa Gallegos, who scored 16 points, Jayden Brunsen, who scored 10, and Charlize Valdez, who chipped in seven.
Now 3-15 overall and 3-7 in the San Juan Basin League, Mancos will look to pick up a win in its final game of the regular season when it goes to Telluride High School on Friday.
The Lady Jays will then await their seeding in the Class 2A District 3 tournament, which they will likely begin with a pigtail game on the road.
“We do feel pretty confident,” Morgan said. “We know that there are things that we need to work on offensively, but overall, our defense has been playing very well.”