OURAY – It was a rematch of rivals on Tuesday night when the Telluride High School boys’ basketball team came to Ouray. Telluride surrendered their near-perfect record to the Trojans last year, after which Ouray went on to win the Mountain League championship title and make their first state tournament appearance since 1995.
But this year things would be different.
The Miners had one goal in mind: to make amends for last season’s loss, and they did just that – with a 30-point differential.
“We were trying to butt horns with the big guys, and we got too wound up,” said Ouray boys’ basketball coach Jim Blennis of the Tuesday night loss at home, which brings the Trojans record to 6-2. “They played too tight all night long. They never really relaxed.”
Telluride carried the momentum of a three-game winning streak into Tuesday night, after posting victories in Mancos, Norwood and Ignacio. The Miners also have a stellar lineup of senior players, including Mike Matthews, who became the first student in Telluride High School history to receive a full ride basketball scholarship. He will play for Durango’s Fort Lewis College next year.
Ouray kept their opponents in check throughout the first period, countering Telluride attacks with pointed offense of their own. Sophomore Chris Cramp opened up scoring in the second with a graceful three-pointer, but Telluride junior Jarred Brown was quick to respond by knocking back a three-pointer just seconds later.
A flurry of activity from Telluride’s offense, with baskets netted by leading senior scorers Carl Schroedl and Ian MacCracken, opened the Miner lead to 19 by the end of the first half.
Ouray’s Dance Team lightened the halftime mood considerably, with their entertaining dance choreographed to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It,” but when play returned to the court for the second half the Trojans found themselves fighting an uphill battle.
Junior Chris Blansett managed to deny a MacCracken shot, leading to senior Scott Fedel snaking through Telluride’s typically impenetrable defense and knocking in a pretty lay-up. But Telluride responded in kind, with two quick steals leading to baskets, and an end-of-period scoring flurry led by an on-fire Schroedl and an on-the buzzer two points netted by a fast-dribbling Brown.
The Trojans were unable to come back from the 30-point deficit left at the end of the third period, and with an especially hard-to-swallow dunk from Telluride’s Matthews, the Miners floated to the win.
“It’s all about building teamwork, and when our senior leaders step up like they did tonight, it really makes the difference,” said THS basketball coach Mike Hughes of the Tuesday night win in Ouray.
Trojan Girls Fight Hard for Home Court Win
The secret to the Ouray girls’ Tuesday night win over Telluride was the fact that the Trojans never let up their pressure, said coach Bernie Pearce, “despite the proverbial ‘lid’ on the basket.”
Ouray continued to shoot the ball and in the end their perseverance made the difference, opening up the team’s lead in the final period to earn them a hard fought win, 38-28.
While insistent offense ultimately proved to be the winning ingredient for Ouray, determined defensive play was also a factor. LiErin Wilson, Geordyn MacDougall and Julie Sirotek were unrelenting in snagging rebounds and stealing balls, and the team’s ability to zero in on the net while at the free throw line proved valuable as Ouray slowly widened their lead toward the end of the game.
“We hung in there long enough to post the win,” Pearce said following the Tuesday match.
Ouray basketball teams will have a tough schedule to keep for the next two weeks, with six games scheduled in the next 12 days. Their next home game is Friday, against Mancos.