The Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday couldn’t commence quickly enough for the Bayfield boys.
After a 63-58 home loss to Montezuma-Cortez on Friday, Jan. 13, in which the Wolverines managed to come as close as four points during the final 30 seconds, BHS then had visiting Centauri – at the time ranked No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll – on the proverbial ropes through three quarters before the Falcons owned the fourth to clinch a 60-41 road win.
And with Ignacio set to enter BHS Gymnasium next on Thursday, Jan. 19 – a date designated as Senior Night for Bayfield – the Wolverines (5-5, 0-2 3A/4A Intermountain) were certainly need of time to recharge and recompose.
Having rallied against CHS to first tie at 23-23 via a buzzer-beating Jackson Queen three-pointer concluding the first half, and then again to tie at 35 with 1:01 left in the third quarter – via a Devin Cundiff backdoor layup following another Queen three – Bayfield began the final frame trailing 38-35 after a free throw by Falcon Leighton Curtis and a late Kaleb Anderson basket.
Unfortunately, Centauri (10-1, 2-0 IML) was just getting started. Junior Chaz Holman opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back threes, and senior Kolten Johnson then followed with back-to-back layups off Falcon steals at the defensive end.
Queen (19 points) knocked down his fifth trey in the contest to stop the guests’ 13-0 run, but discipline-driven CHS then outscored BHS 12-3 the rest of the way, allowing the Wolverines zero field goals and just two Cundiff FTs plus one by senior Max Meyers. Anderson, meanwhile, booked the last five of his team-leading 12 points, and Johnson the last two of his eight.
Senior Mason Sowards sank a crucial three 3-pointers during the first half and ended up totaling 11 points, and sophomore brother Troy Sowards recorded eight points – six during the third quarter – off boss Larry Mortensen’s bench. Holman finished with his clutch six points as nine different Falcons scored at least a point.
Emerging as a vital backcourt reserve, Cundiff finished with eight points for Bayfield. Senior regular Caden Wood fought for five, senior Lance Mazur had four, sophomore Lincoln Williams scored three and Meyers added two.
Against Montezuma-Cortez the night before, Cundiff scored seven second-quarter points and ended up with a team-high 13. Limited to just one triple, coming during the dramatic fourth quarter, Queen still managed to total 12 points, and Mazur (11) joined them in double figures. Hit with a technical foul during a heated first stanza, Wood finished with eight points – as did backup Silas Wilbourn, who surprised almost everyone attending by draining two treys, matching Mazur’s team-high.
BHS trailed 17-9 after the first quarter and 36-28 at intermission, before finally pulling level at 38-38 via a short-range Queen bank shot with 3:34 left in the third. But helped by one trey apiece from reserves Caidin Leonard and Easton Hartsoe, Montezuma-Cortez responded well and rebuilt themselves a 50-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Capping the third with a late layup, senior Austin Wood paced the Panthers with 16 points and was 5-of-7 from the charity stripe. Sophomore Tay Wheat made two three-pointers and finished with 12 points, junior post Miles Frost contributed eight points, and senior Elijah Lee – who went 4-of-4 from the foul line at the end of the fourth, and 5-5 for the game – seven.
Hoping to bounce back from a 53-30 home loss to Alamosa on Jan. 13, the Ignacio boys unfortunately fell, 56-32, at Pagosa Springs the next night.
At the time No. 6 in the Class 4A poll, the Pirates – having lost 43-38 at Centauri the night before – improved to 9-2 overall, 1-1 in IML play, while the Eppie Quintana-less Bobcats dropped to 3-7, 0-2.
Statistics were unavailable at press time.
Against AHS, then No. 10 in 4A, junior Gabe Cox totaled nine points and sophomore Charlie Pargin six, including a three-pointer. Senior Dylan McCaw finished with four points, junior Devante Montoya, sophomore Coty Webb and freshman Ambrose Valdez each sank one trey, and junior Phillip Quintana chipped in two points.
Leading 14-5 after one quarter, the Mean Moose ended up getting three triples and 14 total points from senior Jayr Almeida, and 13 from both junior Brant Jackson and senior Kasey Jones – who combined for 11 points during the fourth quarter, won 20-4 by the Moose.
Alamosa then downed Montezuma-Cortez the next afternoon, 74-51, and improved to 10-1 overall, 2-0 IML, before hosting 4A Taos, New Mexico, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with the Tigers (9-8 overall) coming in off a 2-1 showing at the three-day Hope Christian Invitational in Albuquerque.