Offsetting technical fouls to start.
And offsetting technicals to finish.
Fortunately for the Aztec locals, their side managed to avoid enough of Bayfield's dogged defensive barbs-and sometimes found motivation in them-to win Tuesday's non-district girls basketball game, 40 to 24.
"I think we just got over our heads a little bit," BHS sophomore guard Kyle Baker said. "We kind of were scrambled around-the defense was good-so that caught us off-track. But that's how we build."
The Wolverines were coming off last weekend's losses to Lafayette and Buena Vista - 38-29 and 59-50 - at the Buena Vista Invitational. BHS tipped off versus the Tigers with a 2-1 lead after senior center Jessie Roukema sank two free throws to Myra McCaskill's one, and managed to stay close through a mistake-filled first frame, 6-4.
Unfortunately for Bayfield, starters Baker, Maddy Duran and Aspen Pinnecoose were held scoreless, and would later finish with only a fourth-quarter Duran layup between them. In fact, the visitors managed just five baskets in the whole game; Roukema's 10-of-14 foul-line work-all in the first half-was the team's lone lifeline as they trailed 22-12 at intermission.
Still, Aztec-which hit 10-of-16 for the entire contest-was unable to capitalize upon their enemy's miscues.
Aztec began the third quarter with a basket inside, and AHS denied Bayfield (0-4, 0-0 3A Intermountain) any points until Roukema crashed in late.
The Wolverines created an opportunity beginning in the fourth, with Duran's aforementioned hoop, one by junior forward Emily Peinado and a later Peinado freethrow making a credible 5-0 spurt. But with consecutive baskets, Aztec effectively extinguished the spark before it could fully ignite.
Myra McCaskill (four points) and Peinado (eight; 4-7 FT) each traded one FT in two tries after each team was fouled with 1:52 remaining for excessively rough play in the paint, but BHS still found themselves down 14, 36-22, and could only add a Courtney Bayles bucket in the waning moments while Aztec made more points.
"Yeah, people got frustrated, but that's what builds character," Baker said optimistically. "Other than that I think we did good as a team. We encouraged each other, side by side, every second of the way."
Roukema finished with a team-high 12 points for Bayfield, which closes out the 2014 half of its schedule at this weekend's Farmington Scorpion Invitational. Results from yesterday's tourney-opener against FHS were unavailable at press time, but two elements were to be key throughout the tournament.
"More teamwork," said Baker, "and defense, definitely. Defense wins games."