Though not as large and loud a "rumble" as in seasons past, the annual Aztec tournament last weekend was still to Bayfield's liking. The fast-rising Wolverines-which entered this week new to the CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll at #8-knocked off both the hosts and Fruita Monument, both 5A-level schools, to claim first at the Jan. 8-9 "Rumble in 'The Jungle.'"
Repeating and improving upon their season-opening win over Aztec, BHS blasted the Tigers on Day 1, 76-47. They returned to Aztec the next evening to nip the Wildcats 48-44. The vanquished two, one struggling much more than the other this season, then went head-to-head the day after with Aztec holding off Fruita (1-12) 61 to 59.
Three-of-six from three-point range, junior guard Taed Heydinger led Bayfield on Day 2 with 15 points. Thirteen of those came in the fourth quarter as the Wolverines erased a 35-30 deficit facing them at the end of the third. Senior guard Conner Kennedy totaled 12 points and junior forward Zane Phelps booked 10. Senior center Preston Hardy recorded seven and senior guard Trevor Gabbard the other four.
Against Aztec, Phelps scored 18 points and Gabbard provided a hard outside punch with 17. Hardy dropped 14, Kennedy contributed nine and Heydinger seven as 10 Wolverines-including freshmen Ryan Phelps (four) and Hunter Killough (three)-chipped in for the cause.
Hardy clutched nine rebounds, Hoselton (who had seven assists in the wins) another six and Gabbard five.
Now 7-1 overall under Coach Jeff Lehnus, the Wolverines play next at Alamosa on Jan. 20, beginning Intermountain League play. The Mean Moose (5-4 entering tomorrow's game at 4A Montezuma-Cortez) were also included in this week's rankings at No. 10, but had been leapfrogged by BHS and also bumped down another notch by previous #8 Sterling.
Ready to avenge their 2013-14 season's demise, Bayfield then travels to Monte Vista on Jan. 23.