As an eighth grader last season, Mancos High School freshman Quincy Montoya watched from the sideline while dreaming of one day transforming the Lady Jays offense into a high-flying, fast-paced machine.
Now a year removed from her final year of middle school, freshman’s dream continues appears to be being realized as evidenced by her team’s stellar performance during its 41-15 home victory over Telluride on Feb. 2.
“I feel like we just bring another intensity level,” said Montoya, who scored 16 points in just her third high school game. “Last year, the team didn’t have as much speed and height, and I think that our freshmen have really helped with that this year.”
In addition to receiving a boost from Montoya and fellow freshman Teya Yeomans, who scored five points and pulled down several rebounds, the Lady Jays benefited from the play of junior point guard Rhiley Montoya, who scored 11 points and came through with numerous steals.
“Something that we’ll be able to carry throughout the season is our speed and our defense,” Rhiley Montoya said. “My mom, (head coach Kerri Morgan), always says, ‘Play hard until they start calling fouls.’ If they start calling stuff, then we back off a little bit, but you can never have too hard a defense.”
Although the ultimate result of the contest against the Miners was a lopsided win, the opening quarter of the contest was a back-and-forth struggle that featured both teams missing easy shots in the paint and turning the ball over.
After a layup by Yeomans just before the end of the opening quarter gave the Lady Jays an 8-4 lead, Mancos yielded a basket to Telluride senior Kyra Levan before outscoring the Miners 12-0 during the remainder of the second quarter and carrying a 20-6 lead into halftime.
“The last few years, we’ve struggled with getting the ball up the floor,” said Rhiley Montoya, when asked about her team’s second-quarter run. “Now that we have a little bit of speed with our freshmen, 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.”
As the second half got underway, Mancos’ defense continued to create turnovers while the Lady Jays did a nice job of patiently executing their offense and setting one another up for easy baskets from all areas of the floor.
Among the most effective Mancos players offensively was Quincy Montoya, whose step-through layup after a nice drive to the basket gave Mancos a 29-11 lead. The freshman followed up with a 3-pointer from the left baseline later in the corner to put the Lady Jays ahead 34-11 heading into the final quarter of play.
With the game completely in hand during the final 8 minutes, the Lady Jays iced their victory by pounding the ball into Yeomans on the low block and allowing Rhiley Montoya to race around the perimeter and knock down long shots from the outside.
Complimenting Quincy Montoya’s 16 points and Rhiley Montoya’s 11 points were Yeomans and senior Madi Hale, who each scored five points in the contest. Telluride was led offensively by Lovely and Morgan Watkinson, who scored four points each.
Now 2-1 on the season and brimming with confidence, Mancos will return to the practice court to prepare for a home matchup against Ouray on Feb. 6.
“We need to limit our turnovers and run our offense consistently, said Rhiley Montoya, when asked how her team can still improve. “Our offense needs to be more consistent and run properly if we want to make it to state.”