The Durango High School boys basketball team considered Saturday’s contest against rival Montezuma-Cortez a must-win game. Mission accomplished.
Anthony Flint scored 20 points with six in each of the first three quarters one day after he finished with only six points in a loss to Bayfield, and the Demons ran away from the Panthers to secure a 71-54 victory in the third-place game of the Southwest Classic on Saturday at DHS.
“It was a good bounce back. We just had to keep our energy on a Saturday morning after a tough loss the night before,” Flint said. “It’s been nice for me to get into the lane and finish over people and add that extra dimension to my game this year.”
Durango (2-2) came out more aggressive Saturday and attacked the basket off the dribble. After they led 30-19 after one half, the Demons’ lead exploded to as much as 20 points early in the third quarter.
Haezen Mestas scored 10 second-half points for DHS. Ty Martinez scored seven, as did center Walter Stauffer. Jasper Zastrocky scored six, all in the first quarter. Luke Wesley also had six points in the first half, while Sam Johnson scored six points all in the second half.
“It feels good to see the boys put up 71 points. The ball moved much better today than our last two games,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said. “If we get guys to become more aggressive, that’s what we are looking for as the season goes on.”
John T. Carver led the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers (1-2) once again with 19 points. He had a huge third quarter with 10 points. Josh Chupp scored 11 points with three made 3-pointers. Austin Wood scored eight points, all in the second half.
M-CHS head coach Mike Hall was pleased with his team’s play in the second half, as the Panthers scored 35 points after only 19 in the first.
“Our guys got in a bit better of a rhythm,” Hall said. “We have a couple kids still out, but I liked the intensity and quickness we had in the second half. That’s how we should have played the whole game. They are young and learning how to deal with adversity, but the fourth quarter was a step in the right direction.”
After losing two in a row on their home floor, Durango felt better after Saturday’s win going into a 5A/4A Southwestern League opener Tuesday night at Fruita Monument High School.
“When we get into league, it’s going to be about dealing with pressure defense a lot more than we’ve seen,” Batiste said.
Montezuma-Cortez will open 3A Intermountain League play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Centauri (3-0, 1-0 IML).
“This league is tough, and you add travel in there and it makes it tougher,” Hall said. “Everybody knows everybody’s tendencies. It’s a fun battle every night, and we look forward to it.”