Bayfield senior center Ryan Phelps' thunderous alley-oop slam of junior forward Hayden Farmer's third-quarter lob pass last Saturday evening was a potential signal that the Wolverines had done enough to secure victory.
Centauri's Noah Sowards more or less proved they hadn't.
Coming off head coach Jeff Brown's bench in support of classmate Cody Bagwell, Phelps' initial counterpart, the sophomore immediately elevated at the other end for a lightning-quick, but ultimately unluckily miss at an unexpected two-handed flush.
Still, the energized Falcons then forced BHS to play fully until the quarter expired. Unfortunately for CHS, they did; aggressively outscoring the guests 28-9, Bayfield rebuilt their 32-14 halftime lead to an overwhelming 60-23 with just eight regulation minutes remaining.
And that was just too great a margin for Centauri to overcome, despite causing unrest on BHS' bench by ignoring a mercy-rule, running-clock fate and outscoring the locals' second unit 18-2 in the final frame, closing the gap to 62-41 when all was said and done inside BHS Gymnasium.
Fired up by 12 first-quarter points and 6-of-8 free-throw shooting, Phelps progressed to total a game-best 24 points. Senior guard Dax Snooks drilled two three-pointers and finished with 12 points, Farmer joined them in double figures with his 11, and junior guard Turner Kennedy, coming off Jeff Lehnus' bench, was close with seven.
Blanked during the 3A Intermountain League contest's opening 6 minutes, 3 seconds-in which Bayfield (10-5, 5-1 IML) raced out to a 14-0 lead while their foes' best shots refused to fall-the Falcons got three three-pointers and a team-high 13 points from senior Nate Anderson.
Sowards finished with four points, and starters Martin Garcia and Sam Anderson did likewise. Centauri was a collective 9-of-17 from the charity stripe, compared to Bayfield's 9-11 accuracy.
Still hanging on to an 'Others Receiving Votes' position in Monday's updated CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll, the Wolverines will travel to Monte Vista (4-10, 0-6) this Friday, Feb. 2, for a 7 p.m. start, and then return to host Pagosa Springs the next evening.
Meanwhile, the Falcons (8-7, 1-5) will visit Montezuma-Cortez (8-7, 2-4) on the 2nd and also get underway at 7, then return to La Jara to host #2-ranked Alamosa on the 3rd.
SCHEDULE CHANGES: Due to AHS hosting a wrestling regional, the eagerly-anticipated Feb. 9 rematch out in the San Luis Valley between BHS and the Mean Moose has been moved to Thursday, Feb. 15, with the targeted 7 p.m. start time remaining unchanged. The girls' varsity battle that night still has a 5:30 start.
Bayfield's scheduled junior-varsity boys' and girls' Feb. 15 trip to Durango, therefore, has been bumped up to Monday, Feb. 12, with games still set for 4 and 5:30 p.m. Finally, BHS' Feb. 10 varsity home contests versus M-CHS will begin later in the afternoon, with the girls commencing at 3:30 p.m. and the boys following at 5 p.m.