The team is gunning for the post-season after winning both games this past weekend to repeat as San Juan League champions. But unlike last year’s championship crown, the Miners have to share it this time with Ignacio, a talented new addition to the league.
And if there’s anything that makes for heated competition, it’s a first-place tie.
Telluride and Ignacio could meet on the court for the third time this season during the Class 2A District 3 Semifinal in Dove Creek this weekend. But first they have to get by Dolores, who they play on Friday at 7:30 p.m. A win will put the boys in the championship game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The top two teams from the district tournament will advance to the state tournament.
Senior Ian MacCracken said his team is ready for the post-season.
“Ever since my sophomore year, I feel like this team has been prepared to win going into districts. But this year, I feel like we’re more ready than we’ve ever been,” said MacCracken, part of the solid team leadership that includes fellow senior starters Mike Matthews, Carl Schroedl and Connor Reich.
The seniors’ played the final home game of their high school careers last Saturday against Dove Creek. Matthews knocked back a huge three-pointer within the first 30 seconds of play to start Telluride’s dominance, and MacCracken followed suit with a three-point shot of his own. On defense, a Schroedl steal at half court resulted in a fast break and lay-up that put Telluride ahead by 15 points. Reich tipped in another two points before the first quarter’s end to put Telluride ahead 24-2.
The second quarter saw the Dove Creek Bulldogs come to life, but their Miner attackers proved daunting and the score at halftime stood at 50-15. Telluride ultimately took the convincing win with a score of 82-28.
MacCracken said Telluride fans have played a major role in keeping the Miners’ reign of victory going, and he hopes to see it continue at the district tournament.
“Having that crowd out there supporting us in those two games [against Ignacio] was huge, and we’d love to have that crowd with us from here on out,” he said. “It’s a huge advantage, especially when we play on neutral territory, like we will this weekend.”
THS boys’ basketball coach and athletic director Mike Hughes echoed the desire to see a big Telluride showing for this weekend’s games, especially if they find themselves in the championship game on Saturday. In an email to fans, Hughes wrote: “I know we have to cross the Dolores hurdle first, but would really like to have a great fan base, by any means necessary, there to support our kids on Saturday,” noting that the Ignacio team will surely have a large crowd there. “I would really like to have a great representation of our community there for our kids.”
The girls will play Mancos at 6 p.m. on Friday in the district tournament. The girls’ championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday.