Dove Creek girls basketball team clamps down on D to beat Mancos

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Amber Blackmore, white, and Whitney Gustafson battle for a loose ball Saturday evening in Dove Creek. The Lady Bulldogs won, 47-24.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

The Mancos Lady Bluejays played consecutive nights last Friday and Saturday.

Mancos coach Josh Kitchen felt his basketball team played its best game this season at Monticello (Utah).

Unfortunately, a valiant Lady Bluejays effort came up just short by the narrowest of margins in a 28-27 loss.

Mancos turned around and played at rival Dove Creek Saturday evening. A Lady Bulldogs squad fresh off of Christmas break wore out the Lady Bluejays at home in the second half.

The end result was a 47-24 win for Dove Creek.

"We talked about in our pregame, no matter what the offense does, the defense still has to play tough," said 36th year Lady Bulldogs coach Jim Buffington. "We held them to seven points in that second half. We started clamping down and defense is what wins games."

The Lady Bluejays (1-7, 0-3 2A/1A SJBL) are still growing under their first-year coach. Kitchen feels last week's games were another learning experience for his team.

"It came down to, Dove Creek just out-hustled us," Kitchen said. "Tonight, Dove Creek worked harder than we did and they deserved it. We got a little lazy and they exploited it, to their credit."

Mancos pulled within two at 19-17 in the second quarter after back-to-back buckets by Andie Paschal and Jessica Gutierrez.

Dove Creek countered with four straight points to close out the half and led 23-17 at the break.

"Our subs came in and did a good job," Buffington said. "What I expect of my subs, is play it even. Don't lose 10 points to the other team. If you can keep it even, then you've done your job. They came in and did a real good job in that respect."

Paschal led Mancos with eight points and fellow post presence Megan Hess grabbed eight boards. Gutierrez and Taylor Goff scored six points apiece.

"We're finally getting healthy and we're starting to learn the system," Kitchen said. "It's hard to learn a new system and the girls are starting to get a grasp for it. We're starting to gel a little bit as a team. The girls are playing better. The biggest thing is we need to cross that threshold and convert that into wins."

The Lady Bluejays travel to Telluride Friday night with tip-off at 5:30 p.m. Mancos hosts 4A Aztec (N.M.) Saturday at 6:30.

Dove Creek goes to Nucla on Friday and plays at 5:30.

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