Conference races in boys and girls basketball continue to heat up across the state and the San Juan region is no different.  In our latest Colorado Preps weekly series, Caleb Burggraaf takes around the area and provides updates.  Wrestlers meantime are storming into the postseason with regionals this week and the state tournament next week.

Our report is presented each week by FCI Constructors.


Boys Basketball

The second half of the season for the Durango Demons continues to be a struggle, as they dropped another game over the weekend, this time to Grand Junction in a 49-45 loss at home. The Demons have now lost nine of their last eleven games, and after starting the season 5-2, have lost their way into the postseason. They could still find a path in, but it would take winning out the rest of the way to get back to .500, and with a tough home game with Fruita Monument this week, and then games with scrappy opponents in Grand Junction Central and Montezuma Cortez, the Demons will have their work cut out. 

Meanwhile, down the road, the Pagosa Springs Pirates used this week to get back into the standings in the IML, with wins over Bayfield (50-38) and Montezuma Cortez (75-45) moving them to 5-2 in the league standings and 12-5 overall. Centauri and Alamosa still sit ahead of the Pirates, with both teams only having one loss so far. This weekend’s road trip to Centauri will have big implications on the league, as a win for the Pirates would give them the tiebreaker over Centauri and could lead to a three way tie for the title if the Falcons win their second game with Alamosa. 

The Bayfield Wolverines gave themselves a leg up on Montezuma Cortez at the bottom of the IML standings, winning their game with Cortez in a 61-59 thriller on the road. The Wolverines still have three home games remaining this week, as they look to improve on their 4-11 record, but the tests will be tough, with a rematch against Cortez on Friday sandwiched between Grand Junction Central on Thursday and Centauri on Saturday. 

For Montezuma Cortez, the Panthers 4-10 record is disappointing, but they have the chance now to play the role of spoiler. After Bayfield on Friday, the Panthers can possibly steal a game from Alamosa, who they played close on the road earlier this season, and also can threaten the seasons of Mancos and Durango if they can pull wins from those teams in their respective classifications. 

Speaking of Mancos though, the Bluejays are on a tear in the recent weeks, moving to 9-0 in San Juan Basin play and securing a league title with wins over Ignacio (55-36), Nucla (90-27), and Telluride (79-52). The Jays have scored over 70 points five times this season, and three of them have come in the last two weeks, showing that they are peaking at the right time, with only two weeks remaining in the regular season. This week is a light week for them, with only 3-9 Ridgway on the schedule, but they do close out the year with Cortez and Dolores next week. 

The rest of the San Juan Basin League is a bit jumbled, but in terms of overall record, the Ignacio Bobcats are still making noise at 9-4 overall. After dropping their game to Mancos, the Bobcats rolled off a pair of wins against Telluride and Dolores, and now will focus on what is a very busy end of the season. This week, a rematch with Dolores on Wednesday leads to Sanford at home on Friday and Ridgway on Saturday. Then, they focus on Del Norte and Telluride to close out the season. Ignacio should be a postseason team, and with their run and gun style of play, they are a threat to anyone they can get into their style of play. 

At 8-7, Dove Creek is also in the middle of the mix in the San Juan Basin. A narrow 73-75 win over Ouray in their last game out was the only contest last week, but it was a doozy, going to overtime, and seeing Kade Hankins put up 30 points to help Dove Creek to the win. Ryan Jarmon also added another 22, going four of six from beyond three point land. Hankins and Jarmon both posted double doubles in the win, and also forced Ouray into 21 turnovers, which would prove big in the final numbers. 

Ouray was led by DC Miller, who put up 34 in the loss, and shot 67 percent from the field in the game. But the Trojans only managed 25 percent from beyond the arc, shooting seven of 28 from three, which brought their overall shooting down to just 41 percent. The Trojans dropped to 8-8 with the loss, while Dove Creek moved to 8-7, but both teams remain ahead of Ignacio in the league standings for the time being, and should be considered a threat to make the postseason field with the depth and scoring talent both possess. 

The Telluride Miners have been on an upswing on the boys side of the ball, moving to 3-4 in league with wins over Ridgway and Nucla last week, although those were offset by losses to Ignacio and Mancos. The offense has been on the rise for the Miners though, and they will look to continue the forward momentum in their final four games for a team that only has two seniors on the roster, and is loaded with eight sophomores on the varsity squad. 

Dolores also has a chance to make a strong push at the end of the season, with five games remaining, the Bears are looking to finish above .500, and are looking to pull a few big league wins, with games still remaining against Ignacio and Dove Creek this week, as well as Mancos and Ouray (a non-league game) next week. The Bears have only been able to go seven players deep consistently this year, but have seen four of the five seniors step in for valuable minutes in the season. The Bears defense has been where they have hung their hat all season long, and should continue to do so, having only allowed an opponent over 60 points twice all year. 


Girls Basketball

The Durango Demons picked up their 13th win of the year and moved to 3-2 in league action after taking down the Grand Junction Tigers on Friday last week, setting up some important games this weekend as they will be hosting Grand Junction Central and Fruita Monument in games that will have major implications on the league standings. The Demons are all but guaranteed a postseason spot thanks to their record, but a win over the 16-3 Warriors would put them into a tie for second in the league, and would open the door for possibly sneaking into a league title depending on how they play against 16-2 Fruita Monument. 

Down the road, the Pagosa Springs Pirates got a lift in their league pursuit, as the Alamosa loss to Centauri over the weekend put the league standings into a muddle, with both Alamosa and Centauri having one loss, and Pagosa just a game back of both with two losses, both to Alamosa. The Pirates closed out their home and homes with Bayfield and Cortez over the weekend, only allowing 39 points total in the two games, and will close league play this weekend in what is a must win for them in Centauri if they want a shot at a split league crown. 

Montezuma Cortez dropped to 0-5 in league with their Saturday loss to Pagosa, and haven’t won a game in 2022 yet. The loss to Pagosa cam on the heels of a 50-26 loss to Dove Creek, and the Panthers have dropped six straight games after entering January at 6-2. This weekend, they will travel to Bayfield for their first and possibly only matchup with the Wolverines, before hosting Alamosa, in their final IML games of the season. They will close out the year with a trip to Mancos next week. 

Bayfield showed some improvement in their game with Pagosa this week, still falling 55-23, but a much better performance than the 66-8 loss at the Pirates home earlier in the year. They struggled against Alamosa on the road after a quick turnaround though, and will look to finish their season on a better note, with Montezuma Cortez and Centauri coming up this weekend in a pair of home games to finish up. 

Further to the west, the San Juan League is all but wrapped up with Dove Creek have a two game edge on the next two closest in the standings. Ignacio is one of those teams, and will get their shot at the Bulldogs, who haven’t lost a game since December 4th. Dove Creek enters the game after a 24 point win over Montezuma Cortez last week in their only action, and while the Bulldogs had eight different scorers in the game, it was Lexi Gray who led the way with 17 points, most of which came from the line thanks to going 9 of 11 in free throws. The Bulldogs didn’t shoot well, only 25 percent in the win, but if they can continue to put up the volume of shots they have over the past few weeks, they can make up for the lack of precision. 

Ignacio enters their game with Dove Creek at a humble 6-6 on the season, and while their game with Ignacio in round two won’t be a league contest, it will have some pride on the line for the Bobcats. The dropped their earlier game with Dove Creek 69-56 on their home court, and will probably be wanting some revenge, and to snap the long double digit winning streak the Bulldogs are currently riding. The Bobcats do enter the game with momentum, bouncing back from a four point loss to Mancos last week with wins over Telluride and Dolores. 

Mancos’ win over Ignacio was a big one for them in terms of league standings, giving them the tie-breaker over Ignacio for the time being with the head to head win, as both teams are at 3-2 in league action. The Bluejays survived what was a very busy week with four games, beginning with the Ignacio win, and followed by a win over 8-8 Nucla. They did fall to Sargent on the road Friday, but responded by traveling to Telluride for a win over the Miners. The busy schedule doesn’t slow down either, as they face Dolores and Northwest (Shiprock, NM) this week, with another three games on the schedule for next week. 

The Nucla Mustangs saw their chances at a league title disappear with the loss to Mancos, but a trip to the postseason isn’t out of the question for the young team. They take on De Beque in their lone game this week, and with only three games on the schedule, finishing above 500 isn’t out of the question, with Dolores and Dove Creek awaiting the Mustangs in the last week of the season. They will need to improve on a rough night shooting against Mancos, where they posted a weak 13 percent from the field on 8-63 shooting. They did dominate the boards though, pulling down 38 rebounds in the loss, which will be a big boost going forward if they can keep it up. 

The Dolores Bears are another team who still have a lot left to play for, only sitting at 3-8 on the season, but with five games, all league contests, remaining, they could shake up the standings in the San Juan. Ignacio, Mancos, and Dove Creek this week will be the deciders for the Bears, with all three teams ahead of them jostling for seeding in the district field. At 1-1 in league, the Bears could make a late run for a push into the field. 



It was the JV wrestlers taking to the stage last week for the most part, as most varsity programs in the Southwest were focusing on dual competition or on getting ready for regionals this weekend. 

In terms of duals, there were some tasty ones for fans to look at. The defending 3A state champions in Pagosa defeated the defeating Alamosa 47-34 to open up the weekend on Thursday, and Bayfield fell to the defending 2A state champions in Centauri 63-16. Durango had the busiest weekend of all, with three duals lined up, defeating Grand Junction Central 39-30 on Friday, before falling to Fruita Monument 49-21 and Grand Junction 41-29 on Saturday. 

Bayfield and Durango both sent their JV wrestlers to the San Juan Basin JV Championships in Aztec, NM on Saturday, and the Wolverines would take fifth with Durango just behind them in seventh. 

Bayfield saw Peyton Montgomery take first ahead of teammate Sawyer Flinders at 95 pounds, and Durango’s Dillon Harris took second at 106 pounds. Another Wolverine in Darron Boling took fourth at 113, and it was Bayfield’s Donovan Candelaria taking third at the combined 160/170 weight class. 

Regional action does being on Friday this week, and for the San Juan League, most teams are heading to Buena Vista for the 2A Region 1 tournament. Dolores, Dove Creek, Ignacio, Mancos, Norwood and Nucla will take their place in the 16 team field, with the top four plus wrestlebacks making their way to Ball Arena in two weeks. 

Bayfield, Pagosa Springs, and Montezuma Cortez are heading to Gunnison for the 3A Region 1 tournament at Western Colorado University in a 14 team field. Durango is heading to the Front Range and will be at host Broomfield for the 4A Region 1 tournament, another 14 team field in itself.