by Scott Boyle
Local basketball teams are in full swing this season, led by the Monticello Buckaroos boys team.
Coach Tony Esplin’s team moved to 5-0 on the season after an impressive run at the Cortez Tournament. The went 3-0, including a rare double header on Saturday.
San Juan boys were 1-2 at the always-tough Farmington, NM tournament to raise their record to 5-3.
Monticello girls (4-3) won their only contest of the week over Mancos to run their record to 3-2 on the year.
The Buckaroo boys took advantage of their depth to play three games in 24 hours. On Friday, against Miamura of NM, the Bucks got playing time for everyone in an easy 50-32 win.
No Bucks were in double figures, but nine scored, led by Austin Maloy’s nine. A trio of players, Jake Duncan, Tanner Eardley and Zach Johnson, scored eight points each.
The Bucks jumped to a 19-8 lead after one quarter. Another 15-3 run in the third quarter and the Bucks turned it over to the younger guys for the win.
On Saturday, the Buckaroos matched up against the hometown Montezuma-Cortez Panthers and came away with an emotional 62-55 win, although it took overtime to get the win.
The Bucks led throughout, taking an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Cortez rally behind some wild three point shooting at the end.
Seemingly having the game wrapped up, leading by four with just seconds remaining, Cortez canned a desperation three pointer and coaxed the officials into finding a foul, too.
The resulting freebie tied the game, sending the game to overtime, where the Bucks dominated to earn the good win.
Gunnar Hollingsworth led all scorers with 24 points, while Austin Maloy added 16.
Immediately after the Cortez overtime special, the Bucks suited up again, this time against the Bayfield Bobcats of Colorado. Using ten players effectively (eight of whom scored), Esplin guided the Bucks to the tournament championship, 55-44.
The Bucks were impressive from the free throw line, connecting on 12 of 16 and from the field. The game was tight throughout, but with a 22-13 fourth quarter advantage, the not-so-tired Bucks pulled away from the Bobcats.
Duncan led the way with 19 points. Hollingsworth chipped in with 10 and Eardley and sophomore Sheldon Black both had eight.
This week is rivalry week as the Bucks travel to Grand on Tuesday and host the Broncos on Friday.
Jason Torgerson’s bunch matched up against powerful Montwood High from El Paso, TX in their first game of the prestigious Farmington tournament. Montwood jumped to a speedy 22-6 first quarter lead and poured it on from there to best the Broncos 72-37.
Montwood went on to go undefeated in the tournament and are now 14-0 on the year.
The Broncos were lead by Barkley Christensen’s 14 points and Isaac Morley’s 10 rebounds.
Next was a rematch with the Shiprock Chieftains, who barely beat the Broncos in their opener three weeks ago. This time it was the Chieftains again, as they pulled out a 76-68 win over the Broncos.
Morley muscled his way to a double-double, with 14 points and 10 more rebounds. Three other Broncos managed double figures in scoring, with Logan Meyer’s 16, Ammon Mitchell’s 13 and Christensen’s 11.
Finally, the Broncos ended the tournament with a nice win over Red Mesa, AZ, 68-31. The Broncos raced to a 38-15 halftime lead and coasted to the easy win.
Eleven Broncos found the scoring column with Christensen (14), Meyer (11) and Morley (10) all hitting double figures.
This week, the Broncos host Aztec, NM on Thursday and travel to Monticello on Friday.
The Lady Broncos took a tight 68-67 win over the hot-shootin’ Monument Valley Cougars. Withstanding 1A leading scorer Heidi Nelson’s 36 points and five treys, the Lady Broncos had a balanced scoring effort, with four Broncos scoring in double figures and three with double doubles.
Tatianna SueSue had a monster game, pouring in 27 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Brooke Lyman had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Sam Giddings had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Erin Hurst continued her scoring pace with 12 points, including two treys.
The offense was off for the Lady Broncos on Friday, when the Escalante Moquis held the Broncos to just six first half points to lead 18-6 at the break.
Even though the Broncos outscored the Moquis in the second half, they couldn’t get the win, falling 41-35 to the Moquis, who turned around and lost by 34 to Monument Valley the next night.
This week is the rivalry home game against MHS on Tuesday and still at home against Whitehorse on Tuesday.
Coach Lee Chadwick’s Lady Buckaroos used a big second quarter surge to carry them to victory over the Mancos Blue Jays of Colorado.
Outscoring the BJs 21-6 in that second quarter, the Lady Bucks took a 28-10 halftime lead and held on for the win. The Bucks used a balanced attack to get the win.
Mary Beh was the Bucks top scorer with 12, with Aapree Sheeran adding 10, Brittany Keith nine, and Shania DeAnda, eight.
See ya Friday!