Head coach Jeff Lehnus stressed after the Wolverines' Jan. 13 home win over Monte Vista what it takes to succeed, whether at home or away, in the 3A Intermountain League:
"Total balance," he said. "You need to have that total balance of all things."
Though it took the better part of three quarters, all those aspects came together last Friday in Rio Grande County when the Wolverines overcame the Pirates' dogged first-half effort and ran away for a 72-52 road victory against Monte Vista.
The elements just didn't combine properly for BHS the next night against the peskier Pirates from Archuleta County, as Pagosa Springs pulled off a 52-47 stunner despite senior center Ryan Phelps going off for 27 points. He'd scored 29 in Bayfield's thrilling 57-50 road win back on Jan. 19.
Against Monte Vista, he'd logged a team-high 17 points, trailing only the 18 of MVHS junior David Mascarenas. Helped by 10 first-quarter points, BHS junior Hayden Farmer totalled 15 and the offensive part of Lehnus' emphasized 'balance' came from junior Keyon Prior (15 points) and senior Dax Snooks (14) as seven different Wolverines in all scored at least two points.
Seven different Monte Vista Pirates did likewise, but only junior Darrius Garcia (11) joined Mascarenas in double figures as the Wolverines re-took the lead for good with 5:26 left in the third quarter via a Prior breakaway layup. The 32-30 lead grew to 50-42 going into the final quarter.
Farmer managed eight points against PSHS, and Bayfield also got four each from Prior, senior Carl Heide (who'd scored seven at MVHS) and senior McKay Wells. Senior Isaiah Griego led Springs with his 19 points, and junior Jesus Pacheco was right behind with 18.
But in the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" department, BHS' hopes of a shared regular-season league title remained alive as Centauri shocked #2-ranked Alamosa 66-54 in La Jara that same day. That leaves the Mean Moose (15-2 overall) standing 7-1 in the Intermountain and Bayfield (11-6) next at 6-2.
Pagosa Springs improved to 11-5 overall, 5-3 IML, while Centauri rose to 9-8, 2-6 prior to completing their home-and-home with Monte Vista late this week. MVHS, meanwhile, stood 4-12 overall, 0-8 IML going into their Feb. 6 visit to AHS.
"Our league is tough, and I have a lot of respect for our league," Lehnus told the Durango Herald. "On any given night, any team is capable of winning some ball games, and that Alamosa-Centauri game shows that."
Up next, BHS will host Montezuma-Cortez (10-7, 4-4 IML) Saturday, Feb. 10, with tipoff at 5 p.m. The Wolverines' rematch with Alamosa out in the San Luis Valley will then follow at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15.