by Tad Barton
The San Juan boys basketball team was hoping to get back in the win column on Friday, January 9 against the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers in Cortez, CO. Early on, it looked as if the Broncos would indeed do just that.
Instead, a slow third quarter followed by a fourth quarter in which the Broncos went on a six minute scoring drought doomed Coach Monty Lee’s club as they fell 47-39.
The first quarter saw both teams come out swinging. Just like boxers, they matched punch for punch with neither team able to build much of a lead.
At the end of one, both teams had scored the same amount of points, and the game was tied at ten.
The Broncos turned up their defense in the second quarter, holding the Panthers to just five points. In return, San Juan dropped 18 on the home team to take control of the game at that point as well as a build a 13-point lead at the half, 28-15.
Both teams came out of their locker rooms half asleep and played that way through the third quarter. As in the first quarter, they matched each other’s point total with both teams scoring seven points in the third, giving the Broncos a 35-22 lead heading into the final period.
The Broncos started out the fourth quarter scoring four points early on before the proverbial wheels fell off. To make matters worse for San Juan, Montezuma-Cortez caught fire in the final quarter, scoring 25 points including five three-pointers.
Trailing by six points, senior DiQuan Lopez nailed a three that would have cut the lead to just three points, but the score was nullified by a quick three-second call on San Juan.
Still down by six with time running out, the Broncos were forced to foul to try and save time, but San Juan’s scoring drought continued, and the Panthers put the game out of reach from the charity stripe to claim a 47-39 victory over the Broncos.
Lopez led San Juan with 12 points; he also had three rebounds and three steals. Jordan Blake tossed in nine points and pulled down nine rebounds to go along with four steals.
Both Kade Palmer and Caleb Pugh chipped in five points. Palmer also reeled in 10 rebounds and had three steals.
Jonathon Lewis scored four and had three rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Kesian Barton and Max Morley rounded out the scoring with two each. Morley also had three rebounds.
The Broncos travel to Emery to take on the Spartans next Friday, January 16. The game kicks off region play for both teams and is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.