A tale of 2 halves
Mancos Lady Bluejays rally comes up short in girls basketball action
Josh Kitchen's young Mancos Lady Bluejays squad is still searching for that complete game.
The first 16 minutes between Mancos and Monticello (Utah) at Mancos High School on Tuesday night, was disastrous for the home team.
Mancos failed to get its offense going and trailed 28-10 at halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Bluejays soared back into the game.
Guards Brandi Bundy and Taylor Goff sparked the offense and Mancos climbed within seven points in the fourth quarter.
But it was too late.
The Lady Bluejays fell at home, 42-31.
"The girls fought and that's the kind of team we are. We're going to fight the whole way," Kitchen said. "We teach that in practice and the girls, they follow through. We have a lot of pride in who we are. We're just going to continue to grow."
Monticello (3-2) took its biggest lead at 30-10 after a Brittany Keith bucket. Then, Bundi provided that special spark for Mancos (1-3).
The junior guard scored five straight points, including a 3-point play off a hook shot that bounced on the rim and in.
A Danika Evensen layup later made the score 30-17, and the home blue and white faithful was loudly back in the game.
On the next Lady Bluejays' possession, Goff hit Bundi on a fast break lay in to stay within striking distance down 13.
Lady Buckaroos center Aapree Sheeran scored inside before the end of the third quarter, as Monticello led 34-19.
Emily Funmaker scored back-to-back baskets to open the fourth and Mancos trailed just 34-23.
Another Sheeran basket put Monticello back up 13. But Kayla Goff countered with consecutive 3-pointers for Mancos to make it a 7-point contest at 36-29.
Monticello coach Lee Chadwick called timeout with 2:15 remaining.
The timeout worked.
Keith nailed an 18-footer on the right base line and drew a foul to quiet the home crowd. Keith converted the 3-point play and the Lady Buckaroos were back up by double digits at 39-29.
Funmaker netted a high percentage layup to bring the score to 39-31. But Sheeran completed a 3-point play for the final margin.
Mancos out-scored Monticello 21-14 in the second half.
"He just told us to 'Keep our heads up and don't get down. The game's not over. We still have 16 minutes left in the game,'" said Bundi about what Kitchen told his team at halftime.
Kayla Goff led Mancos with eight points, while Bundi and Funmaker tallied seven and six points, respectively.
"We try our hardest to play together and to not let the defense get in our heads. It's getting better every week," Bundi said. "All of us played together in middle school, so it's like a family coming back together."
The Lady Bluejays host Nucla (2-3) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Bobby Abplanalp/Cortez Journal