Bears basketball shows promise in tournament

Opening the season with one win and two losses, the Dolores Bears boys basketball team's solid play in 10 of 12 quarters suggested that this year's young team will be competitive.


Opening the season on the road against the Del Norte Tigers at the Sangre de Cristo Tournament on Dec. 5, the Bears played well, but were undone in the third quarter, falling 59-32.

Moving the ball well to begin the contest, the Bears gave Del Norte all they could handle, leading 14-12 lead at the end of one quarter.

Del Norte's defense picked up in the second quarter, allowing the Tigers to take a 23-21 lead into the locker room at half.

Hoping to make a statement in the second half, the Bears began the third quarter with high hopes, yet quickly came unglued, surrendering 19 points to the Tigers while scoring only two of their own.

"My young guys fell apart," said Bears' head coach Larry Schwartz of his team's third-quarter performance. "They put man-to-man pressure on us, and we just couldn't put it together."

By the time the fourth quarter began, the score stood at 40-23. The Bears eventually fell 59-32.



Hoping to rebound from their opening-season loss with a game against MTCA Charter School on Dec. 6, the Bears played well, racing to a 74-44 victory.

Leading the way for Dolores, junior forward and all-tournament team selection Mikeal Ford scored a game-high 28 points.

Sophomore Jalen Balderrama added 21 points.

"We played okay," said Schwartz of his team's performance. The young guys were able to make some adjustments after halftime and that helped us."



Playing against Sierra Grande in the consolation championship on Dec. 7, the Bears hung tough with a team that dominated 2A opponents last season, but as a result of a tough second quarter, fell 58-41.

Even with the loss Schwartz was pleased with his team's overall performance.

"Sierra Grande is a seasoned team," said Schwartz. "As young as we are, I was really proud. We would have taken them down to the wire if not for one period of four minutes where we fell out of our system."

The Bears will next prepare for road matchups against Telluride (Dec. 13) and Dove Creek (Dec. 17).

"We just want to get better every day," said Schwartz of his team's goals for upcoming games.