PUEBLO – This game came down to pressure-packed free throws and Ignacio’s Anthony Manzanares, Adison Jones and Wyatt Hayes were perfect.
The trio combined to make 6-of-6 free throws in the final 42.7 seconds, vaulting the Bobcats to a 45-38 victory over Rye in a Class 2A quarterfinal game at Colorado State University’s Massari Arena Thursday night.
“We absolutely practice free throws, and the guys came through when they were tired,” Ignacio coach Chris Valdez said.
Ignacio (22-2), the No. 3 seed moves on to play No. 2 Sanford (25-0).
“Sanford is tough, and they are the defending (2A) state champs,” Valdez said. “They are physical and they are aggressive and we are just going to go out there and give it a hard run.”
A win seemed like the last thing the Bobcats would be celebrating early in the Rye game.
“The thing is we came out and played so horrible in the first quarter,” said Valdez, whose team was trailing 5-2 after eight minutes of play against Rye. “We had our best player, Adison Jones in foul trouble, he had three fouls in the first quarter. The first half we wanted to hold on and stay with it and we ended up coming out with the lead.”
The game was definitely in doubt late in the final quarter and when Rye’s Corban Pagnotta converted a 3-point play, the Thunderbolts were up 36-35.
Instead of wilt, Ignacio answered.
Jones drove to the basket and put in a bucket, putting the Bobcats ahead 37-36 with 2:18 left.
The Bobcats were clinging to a 39-38 advantage when Manzanares made two free throws at the 42.7-second mark giving his team a 41-38 lead.
Rye had a missed opportunity the next time down the court and with 20.7 seconds showing Jones made two more free throws to stretch the lead to 43-38. Hayes sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left.
Hayes had a team-best 16 points and Jones added 13. Ty Zupancic had a team-high 10 points for Rye.
Resurrection Christian 87, Burlington 32
Top-seeded Resurection Christian jumped out to a 21-point first-quarter lead and cruised to the win.
The Cougars ran their record to 24-0 and will play No. 4 Simla (23-2) at 8:30 Friday in the semifinals.
Tanner Ervin (24 points) and Mike Stevenson (17 points) paced the Cougars. Resurrection Christian is aiming to win its first boys basketball title in school history.
Simla 55, Meeker 44
Simla’s Kyler Hamacher poured in nine of his game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Cubs to the victory in a first-round game.
With eight minutes to play, Simla appeared to be reeling as it was holding on to a slim 36-33 advantage after just scoring three points in the fourth quarter. The Cubs regrouped for the win and Hamacher wasn’t the only star.
Cody Norris (11 points), Noah Scott (10) and Jason George (10) all scored in double-figures as well for Simla.
Sanford 61, Holyoke 57
Perennial power Sanford received 27 points from Miles Caldon to edge the Dragons.
Sanford led 30-24 at intermission and was able to hold on and win, thanks outscoring in the fourth quarter. Caldon, a guard, scored eight points in the fourth and was 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Clayton Peterson added 10 points for the Indians and Tito Fierro had 23 points in the loss for Holyoke.