Squaring off against Class 3A Bayfield High School at home on Jan. 30, the Mancos High School girls basketball team moved the ball well and benefited from an outstanding shooting performance by senior Madi Hale. The result was impressive as the Lady Jays built a 21-8 halftime lead before keeping the pressure on during the third and fourth quarters on their way to a 48-14 victory over a Wolverines team that many fans expected would present a stiff challenge.
“We finally decided to lock up on defense,” Mancos head coach Kerri Morgan said. “Our defensive intensity picked up, and we’re fast. We’re just starting to figure out how fast we are.”
While energy on the defensive end proved to be a catalyst in Lady Jays success, the team’s ability to run an efficient offense in the half court was equally key as the Wolverines defense proved no match for Mancos’ firepower throughout the evening.
As she has done throughout much of her decorated prep career, Hale found a way to put the ball in the basket as the senior drained three 3-pointers on the afternoon and scored a game-high 23 points.
“Us playing as a team and moving the ball was the key,” Hale said. “We did a good job of working hard and working together. I just kept moving, and when I was open to shoot, I just shot the ball.”
After falling behind 4-1 early in the first quarter after layups by Bayfield’s Cayanne Carlson and Rachel Morris, the Lady Jays regained their composure and eventually regained the lead after a bizarre sequence that included a technical foul call on Carlson.
After referees conferred with Bayfield head coach Josh Kitchen and Mancos athletic director Heath Showalter, the technical foul call was withdrawn and a warning was assessed. Two free throws taken by Hale prior to the meeting counted however.
As the remainder of the first quarter ticked away and the second quarter progressed, the Lady Jays offense began to put the ball in the basket thanks to freshman Quincy Montoya, who scored six points in the second quarter to help her team take a 21-8 halftime lead.
“We had some good freshman girls show up that have really complimented our program,” said Morgan, when asked about Montoya’s play. “They bring it to another level. Neither one of them are scared of contact.”
After a halftime intermission that included a spirited talk by Morgan in the Lady Jays locker room, Mancos continued to pour it on during a third quarter that saw Hale drain a long 3-pointer from the top of the key and score nine points.
Ahead 35-14 heading into the final eight minutes of play, the Lady Jays capped off their impressive performance by getting numerous players involved, including freshman Teya Yeomans, who made several quality post moves and scored four points down the stretch.
Leading scorers for Mancos on the afternoon included Hale, who netted 23, Quincy Montoya, who scored eight, and Riley Montoya, who also scored eight. Bayfield was led offensively by Abby Tate, who scored six points, and Carlson, who scored five.
“Against Sanford, we just ran out of bodies and we ran out of gas,” Morgan said.
Now 1-1 on the season, the Lady Jays will return to practice for one day before returning to their home floor to face off against Telluride High School on Feb. 2.