Bears bully Bluejays
Dolores boys basketball team out-hustles rival Mancos for major win
Bobby Abplanalp/Cortez Journal
Mancos closed the gap to within a point at the end of the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Dolores turned it into a laugher.
Whether it was Cody Carroll driving the lane for two or dumping it off to towering Tyler Weir, the rival Bluejays simply didn't have an answer for the dynamic Dolores duo.
"We need to give the ball to Tyler Weir," Carroll said. "He's the biggest guy out there. He's huge! We give him the ball and he puts it in, he makes free throws and that's the game. That's our objective."
Carroll's last driving layup gave the Bears a 14-point lead, as the senior point guard laughed his way down the court.
In the end, it was all smiles for Dolores, as it defeated rival Mancos, 58-50, last Wednesday night at Dolores High School.
"It was another great rivalry game with Mancos," Bears coach Larry Schwartz said. "They're a really well coached team. I know they're going to be ready for us when we go over there."
Weir scored off an assist from Carroll to make it a 56-40 game for Dolores (3-4, 1-1 2A San Juan Basin League), its biggest lead of the game. Mancos (3-3, 0-1 2A SJBL) closed the contest on a 10-2 run, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome.
"They did a good job of shutting us down," Bluejays coach Mike Glover said. "It comes down to, we just didn't get things done. Dolores played good. They did things right when we didn't."
Turnovers were prevalent on both sides, as they are so often in a rivalry game.
However, it was the Bears that took advantage of the Bluejays miscues and turned them into transition points. Mancos actually forced more turnovers, but couldn't convert them on the offensive end.
"We got to work on limiting our turnovers," said Bluejays guard Nigel Henry. "and having to score on turnovers we create. It's pretty simple."
The game started out like a classic rivalry, as the enemy squads went back-and-forth in the first half. Behind enemy lines, Mancos drew even, 22-22 at halftime. Henry and Jayden Peacock were solid shooting from outside.
Meanwhile, a disgruntled Dolores squad walked to its locker room. But the Bears came out fired up in the third.
Carroll fed Weir down low for two to regain then lead. On the next Bears' possession, Jackson Vermule faked Kyle Cox off his feet and drained a 3, which emphatically set off the home fans, as Dolores led 27-22. After a Branson Mitchell bucket pulled the Bluejays back within three, Austin Blackmer answered from downtown to up the Bears margin at 30-24.
Dolores kept its 6-point lead at 38-32 after the teams continued to trade baskets. But a Mitchell layup and a Peacock 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer brought Mancos very close at 38-37.
But the Bears ran away in the fourth, opening the final frame on a destructive 18-3 run.
The Bluejays fought back within 56-50 near the end. But Chaz Thompson's layup at the final horn was the exclamation point for Dolores.
"I'm just proud of how the boys stepped up. Our defense has really, really improved," Schwartz said. "I thought we ran the ball when we had chances. I thought we boxed out and rebounded really well. Down the stretch, we took care of the ball. It was a game of spurts and we had the last spurt at the end."
For Mancos, the Bluejays go into Christmas break with some issues to address.
"We got to get after it," Glover said. "We come back and got Dove Creek that first game. We got to be ready right away. We just got to work hard."
Mitchell led the Bluejays with 14 points, while Peacock and Henry each totaled 13 and 11, respectively.
"That 3 Jayden hit at the end of the third quarter, we pretty much thought that momentum was going to carry into the fourth quarter. It ended up not," Henry said. "We missed simple layups, free throws weren't going in and they were playing good defense."
Carroll scored a game high 22. Weir chipped in 15 points and Blackmer tallied 10.
"This whole week, we've been practicing so hard. We've been getting after it," Carroll said. "How I see it, is whoever practices harder the week before, is going to win the game. So..."