While Mother Nature altered some of the weekend’s action, including a potential league-title showdown between the Mancos and Telluride boys, action earlier in the week provided plenty of twists and turns for the final three-week push before district play.
Here’s a look at the local teams in action this week, beginning with boys action, as the finish line inches closer.
Heading into their big rematch against Telluride, the Mancos boys had plenty of reason to come out flat against a feisty Mustangs squad in the midst of one of their best seasons in decades. For three quarters, the visitors gave Mancos all they could handle, leading 30-27 at half and going shot-for-shot with the Jays.
However, Mancos (10-3, 4-1 2A/1A SJBL) turned on the jets in the fourth, outscoring Nucla 28-13 behind five different double-figure scorers. Senior Brian Veach led the way with 19, while junior Kaiden Wyatt added 15, senior Chris Medina scored 13 and classmates Andrew Jaime and Kail Wayman added 12 and 10, respectively.
The pivotal second-half run essentially saved any ambition for at least a share of the league crown for Mancos, extending their winning streak to five straight, and setting Mancos up for a rescheduled meeting with Telluride. In the meantime, a Tuesday, Feb. 6 matchup against IML-leading Pagosa Springs looms large on the schedule.
After dropping their first meeting by 25, Dolores played inspired ball in their second encounter with the Buckeroos, unable to rally all the way back from a double-digit halftime deficit.
The Bears (4-11, 0-5 2A/1A SJBL) broke out with 21 third quarter points, and outscored their hosts in the fourth quarter, but ultimately their 13-point hole proved too deep to escape, as DHS dropped their seventh straight game.
Their contest against Ridgway, with the fundraising efforts for the Pawlicki family, was altered due to the weather, and will be played at a later date.
For the second time in two weeks, Dove Creek posted a statement win over their 1A district rivals, rallying from seven down at the break to surge past Ouray in the only Saturday action in the SJBL.
The ‘Dogs (6-9, 3-2 2A/1A SJBL) outscored the Trojans 15-10 in the final eight minutes to sweep the regular season series, while also bouncing back from their 77-43 defeat to Bayfield from earlier in the week.
With three of their final four games prior to districts on the road, Dove Creek preps for a trip to Ignacio on Tuesday, Feb. 6 to renew a former league rivalry against the Bobcats.
In girls action, the Bluejays had some nervous moments in their only meeting with the Mustangs this season, building a 16-point halftime advantage, only to see Nucla pull within one possession in the second half.
The interior presence of senior Teya Yeomans, along with supporting cast buckets from junior Payton Garcia and senior Sam Simmons helped to preserve the win, and keep the Jays (10-4, 4-1 2A/1A SJBL) alone in second place in the SJBL.
Their matchup with Telluride will be made up at a later date, while a Tuesday, Feb. 6 test against Pagosa Springs awaits on the immediate horizon.
For a second straight meeting, Dove Creek turned around a deficit against the Bluejays and came away victorious, rallying from 11 points down to win in their second meeting in five days.
Twenty points from senior Kylie Gatlin, many of which came in the second half, spurred a 22-6 run in the fourth quarter to capture the season sweep. Sister Kalie Gatlin added 13 points, while junior Ralynn Hickman added 10, while senior Quincy Montoya led Mancos with 12 points and sophomore Claire Goodwin chipped in with 10.
The ‘Dogs (11-2, 3-0 2A/1A SJBL) will take their eight-game winning streak into Ignacio for a meeting with the ‘Cats on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
The Bears (2-13, 0-4 2A/1A SJBL) squad didn’t see action this week after their game against Ridgway was postponed, but will look forward to a home meeting with Dove Creek on Saturday, Feb. 10.