If the timeless adage that defense wins championships holds true, the Dove Creek High School girls’ basketball team appears to be primed for a run to the top.
Utilizing a suffocating 3-2 zone defense that swarmed to the ball and collected steals throughout the evening, the Lady Bulldogs looked every bit the part of one of the top teams in Colorado’s 1A Classification during their 48-6 home victory over Ouray on Feb. 5.
“I think that the key to our defense was working as a team mainly,” senior Kobie Beanland said. “We did a good job of playing our own positions and staying where we are supposed to be at. We have great chemistry on defense.”
Just how stellar this year’s Lady Bulldogs’ defense is became increasingly evident between the six-minute mark of the opening quarter when Ouray’s River Manley knocked down a 3-pointer and the thirty-second mark of the fourth quarter when Ouray’s Haley Kunz scored her team’s only other basket.
Throughout the one-sided contest, numerous Dove Creek defenders, including Beanland, senior Grace Hatfield and junior Tara Buffington swarmed to the ball on the perimeter and forced turnovers as Ouray head coach Craig Kaminsky looked on in disbelief.
After the Lady Bulldogs offense briefly struggled to find the basket during a first quarter that ended with the score favoring Dove Creek, 12-3, the team came alive during a second quarter that ended with Ouray trailing 23-3.
Keying the offensive turnaround was Hatfield, who returned to the game after sitting out the majority of the first quarter with two fouls, and scored four points thanks to a jumper from the wing off of a set play and an athletic transition layup over two Ouray defenders.
“I was playing too tough of defense and I was too close (in the first quarter),” Hatfield explained. “In practice, down low, we usually touch, but in the games, the refs call that pretty easily. It was tough to get back up.”
As the second half got underway with the Lady Bulldogs ahead by 20 points, freshman Kalie Gatlin opened her team’s scoring with a basket before Laurel Hankins pulled a rebound and scored later in the quarter to put Dove Creek ahead 29-3.
Tough defense by Beanland and sophomore Rylee Hickman led to Ouray turnovers and two fast break buckets by Hatfield and by the time that the quarter ended, the Lady Bulldogs were ahead 37-3.
“We’re pretty high (after tonight’s game), but we’re still not satisfied,” Hatfield said. “Tonight we should have kept pushing. We missed a lot of chippers. We should have had at least 40 more points.”
Offensive leaders for the Lady Bulldogs included Hatfield, who scored a game-high 17 points, and sophomore Alexa Gray, who chipped in nine. Other leading scorers for Dove Creek included Beanland with eight points and Gatlin with six.
Now 2-0 on the year, Dove Creek will return to action on Feb. 6 when it faces off against San Juan Basin League rival Telluride at 1:00 p.m.