On a historic night in the Pinto Bean Capital of the World, Dove Creek junior Grace Hatfield scored her 1000th career point and the Dove Creek High School girls basketball team routed Dolores High School, 57-22, in front of a large and spirited crowd.
The Lady Bulldogs, who improved their record to 11-3 overall and 4-1 in the San Juan Basin League, were led offensively by Hatfield, who scored a game-high 19 points, and senior Cassie Gatlin, who chipped in 13 points.
The Lady Bears, whose record fell to 4-9 overall and 2-4 in the SJBL, were paced by sophomore Erin Brown, who scored seven points, and junior Allie Kibel, who netted five points.
Among the striking features of the one-sided contest was Dove Creek’s ability to lock down defensively and limit Dolores to seven points in the first half.
Also significant was the Lady Bulldogs’ ability to share the basketball, as five different players scored during a first quarter that ended with Dove Creek leading 23-4 after a impressive transition basket by junior Angel Toledo.
“We’re always talking about unselfishness,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Julie Kibel said. “Last game, there were three times that we should have given up the ball and didn’t. Tonight, I didn’t have to bring that up, I mean, they are feeding each other really well.”
While Dove Creek’s unselfish offense and tough defense stole the show during the first half, which ended with the Lady Bulldogs leading 31-7, Dolores did come through with a few solid plays thanks to Brown, who scored four first-half points.
The Lady Bears’ offense during the second half was much improved, as Kibel and Brown both scored three points during a third quarter that ended with Dove Creek leading 46-19.
“I was a little bit disappointed in the second half because I thought we lost our intensity a little bit,” Kibel said.
Although Dove Creek’s convincing victory left its large home crowd with smiling faces, those lucky enough to witness the contest will likely remember Hatfield’s 1000th career point rather than the Lady Bulldogs’ victory.
The Dove Creek junior’s scoring milestone came midway through the first quarter when she knocked down a free throw after stealing a pass in the backcourt and drawing a shooting foul on her way to the hoop.
“It was just fun, I mean, it really adds to our winning streak and our team’s chemistry,” said Kibel about Hatfield’s accomplishment. “I thought everybody in the stands holding up the 1,000 was neat. I’m just happy for her.”
Winners of six straight games and currently ranked second in the SJBL, Dove Creek will now look ahead to a home matchup against Ouray on Feb. 7 and a home matchup against Ridgway on Feb. 15.
Dolores will look to break back into the winning column when it travels to face Ouray on Feb. 8.
“We just keep practicing and we try to never lose our heads,” said Dove Creek senior Cassie Gatlin about her team’s mentality moving forward. “We can get so far ahead, but we just want to keep our good sportsmanship and stay grounded.”