During the 2021 prep basketball season, six players from Mancos High School caught the attention of San Juan Basin League coaches and earned all-conference honors.
Among the players recognized were Connor Showalter, Madi Hale, Evan Sehnert, Rhiley Montoya, Edgar Hernandez and Tia Imel, who together, combined to make the abbreviated winter season a memorable one for Mancos fans.Below is a synopsis of the seasons produced by each of the Bluejays all-conference honorees:
Connor Showalter, first team
Mancos junior Connor Showalter cemented himself as the San Juan Basin League’s top player during a campaign that led to him being named “Conference Player of the Year.”
A dominant force in the paint and on the glass, Showalter averaged 20.1 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per contest while leading his team to a 13-3 overall record and a 9-2 record in the San Juan Basin League.
Among the forward’s impressive performances was a 38-point scoring outburst in his team’s opening-round playoff victory over Custer County on March 9. Showalter also eclipsed the 30-point mark when he poured in 31 points during his team’s victory over Montezuma-Cortez.
“It was a great win for us honestly,” said Showalter after the Panthers game. “Coming in here, being down at half, the environment (was) crazy. To come away with a win (was) really good for the team.”
Madi Hale, first teamWrapping up an outstanding senior season, Mancos senior showcased her well-rounded game while leading her team on and off the court during a season that saw the Lady Jays finish with a 10-3 record and earn a spot in the Class 2A postseason tournament.
A capable scorer from any area of the floor and a relentless force on the glass, Hale averaged a team-high 12.7 points and pulled down a team-high 10.2 rebounds for the year.
Among the senior’s finest performances were a 23-point effort during a Lady Jays win over Bayfield and a 19-point effort during a Lady Jays victory over M-CHS.
“We did a good job of working hard and working together,” Hale said after her team’s win over Bayfield. “I just kept moving, and when I was open to shoot, I just shot the ball.”
Evan Sehnert, first teamOnce again making his mark as one of the top two-way players in the SJBL, Mancos junior Evan Sehnert delivered big shots while consistently locking down opponents’ top scorers.
A stellar long-range shooter, Sehnert drained 20 three-point field goals while averaging 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Sehnert’s best offensive performance came against Ridgway on March 6 when he scored 20 points to lead his team to a 63-41 victory.
“Coach (Archibeque) has been telling me I put too much effort in to not shoot (3-pointers),” Sehnert said, when asked about his ability to knock down long jump shots. “I decided to put them in, and they felt good tonight. They were a good turning point for our team, and they gave us a lot of energy.”
Rhiley Montoya, first teamAppearing on the SJBL’s 1st team for the first time in her three-year prep career, Mancos junior Rhiley Montoya bedazzled opponents with quickness and relentless defense throughout what was her finest season to date.
Serving as the Lady Jays primary point guard and vocal leader on the floor, Montoya averaged 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.6 assists over the course of the 13 games in which she played.
Among Montoya’s top offensive performances were a 17 point scoring effort during her team’s 44-15 win over Ouray on March 5 and a 16-point scoring effort during her team’s 44-35 win over Telluride on Feb. 24.
The last few years, we’ve struggled with getting the ball up the floor,” said Rhiley Montoya after her team’s win over Telluride. “Now that we have a little bit of speed with our freshman, it’s a lot easier to get the ball up the floor. The faster you get the ball up the floor, the less time the defense has to set up.”Second teams
Cracking the starting lineup after two years of coming off the bench, junior Edgar Hernandez emerged as one of the Bluejays grittiest players while showcasing an ability to knock down clutch shots from all areas of the floor.In addition to averaging 9.5 points, 3.0 steals, 2.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists per game, Hernandez played solid man-to-man defense and anchored the Bluejays’ 1-3-1 zone scheme.
Among the junior’s top performances was a 20-point scoring effort during his team’s win 71-26 win over Nucla and an 18-point scoring outburst in a 74-66 win over Montezuma-Cortez.
Closing out her high school career in style, senior Tia Imel did everything possible to make her team better while playing standout defense and averaging 2.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.Although Imel was not usually counted on to score, she had eight points against Telluride on Feb. 24 and three four-point performances over the course of the year.