Even with a limited offseason, the Mancos Bluejays look like a team in midseason form, even just two weeks into a pandemic-shortened campaign. Playing at home for the fourth time in five outings this season, Mancos blitzed past Ouray, 75-47, to stay unbeaten.
Having shown they can win games with stifling defense, the Jays (5-0, 2-0 2A SJBL) allowed their offense to kick into high gear against the visiting Trojans (0-4), amassing their highest point total of the season.
After the Bluejays and Trojans traded early baskets, Mancos junior Connor Showalter began a clinic on the offensive end. The guards fed Showalter in the paint, and the junior made the most of it.
Showalter tallied a handful of inside buckets, often against a double team, in a 16-0 run that put Mancos ahead 20-4.
Ouray rallied over the next few minutes, extending into the second quarter. Trojan junior Kaden Nelson battled inside with a couple of baskets to keep Ouray within reach, closing the score to 24-17 a couple of minutes into the second quarter.
However, that would be as close as Ouray would get, as Mancos answered with an 8-0 flurry that ballooned the lead to 15 points and effectively took the steam out of a Ouray comeback. When the attention focused on Showalter, Bluejays junior guard Evan Sehnert attacked the rim, and, along the Showalter, the junior duo headed to the locker room already in double figures. The Bluejays again surged and doubled up the Trojans at the half, 40-20.
With both teams happy to keep a high-octane pace into the third quarter, the offense continued to pile up for the Jays. Freshman Kail Wayman cashed in a pair of threes, and junior Edgar Hernandez added five points.
Mancos flexed its muscle, building the lead above 30 points in the third quarter, before head coach Bob Archibeque brought on some of his youth to close out the final eight minutes. Senior Dustin Morning collected his first varsity point on a free throw, much to the delight of his teammates.
A pair of personal bests headlined the victory, as both Sehnert and Showalter posted new career high point totals. Showalter’s 29 points eclipsed his previous mark of 25, which he tallied against Ignacio a season ago. It also marks 25 consecutive games in which he has finished in double figures. Meanwhile, Sehnert broke 20 points for the first time in his career, pouring in 22 in the win.
Ouray junior Hayden Hart and Nelson paced the Trojan effort, scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss.
Mancos 59, Ridgway 45As comfortable as their win on Saturday, the Bluejays endured a much tougher test Friday night, in their first road trip of the season. The Jays found themselves in a battle against the Demons for two quarters, holding a slender 27-26 lead at halftime.
A decisive third quarter, in which the Bluejays outscored Ridgway 14-5, proved to be the difference in the contest, as Mancos kept the hosts at arm’s length the rest of the way and preserved their second win in the San Juan Basin League.
Mancos gets set for a week of preparation for their second meeting with Telluride, this time on the road, on Friday, Feb. 12th. The following Tuesday, Feb. 16h, the Bluejays play host to Ignacio in the first of two meetings that will loom large in the district title chase.