Focusing exclusively on the ball, Telluride's Will Metheny (5) shadows a Monticello, Utah, player Friday afternoon at Dove Creek's Bulldog Classic. (Photo by Joel Priest/Telluride Daily Planet)

Borrowing from Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s landmark 1988 rap, it took two to make a thing go right.

But with 2A/1A San Juan Basin League basketball set to begin in earnest after New Year’s, Telluride’s boys were sufficiently psyched to depart western Dolores County with a split of their two Dove Creek Bulldog Classic contests, which included a competitive 47-39 victory on Day 2 over a SJBL opponent in Nucla.

Unable to maintain their first-quarter scoring pace — THS put up 19 points in the opening eight minutes; NHS 13 — the Miners at least made sure to ensure the Mustangs wouldn’t maintain theirs, and with senior Tony Ordonez accounting for all seven of THS’ second-quarter points, Telluride held a 26-21 lead entering halftime.

Able to take the third quarter 10-9, Telluride (3-4 overall, 1-0 SJBL, 0-0 2A SJBL) finished the job — despite losing post Grayson Berry to fouls — with an 11-9 fourth and locked up third place at the Dec. 16-17 event.

Held to three points by Monticello, Utah, on Day 1 inside “The DawgHouse,” Ordonez erupted for 22 against Nucla, with nine of his points coming via three three-pointers. Berry, junior Will Metheny and junior Cash Livermore each tallied six points, Sam Herman registered five, and Jonathan Matamoros chipped in two.

Freshman prospect Brycen Rummel sank a trio of threes and racked up 21 points for NHS (2-3, 0-0 SJBL, 0-0 1A SJBL). Junior Steele Arnold booked a supporting 13 points, while junior Owen Dinsmore scored three and junior Joseph Casillas two.

Whereas a 49-32 loss to DCHS late on Day 1 dropped the Mustangs into the 10 a.m. Saturday game, the Miners — who arrived only eight strong, illness reportedly claiming multiple regulars — had their path determined by an early 51-25 loss to MHS.

Struggling to body up Buckaroo senior guard Easton Young, as well as senior posts Landon Ewart and Donovan Atwood, Telluride trailed 14-9 after a decent first quarter and 22-13 at intermission before Monticello, behind six Young points, began truly taking charge in the third — increasing their lead to 38-22 beginning the final frame which was, for all practical purposes, all MHS.

Playing on, more or less, eggshells with four personal fouls, Berry managed to survive all 32 minutes and ended up with a team-leading eight points, though only two came after a strong first-quarter start. Livermore knocked down two three-pointers and also totaled eight points in the Classic’s opening clash, and Metheny drained two tries from deep to finish with six points.

Young piled up a game-high 19, while Atwood and senior Tommy Sheeran each recorded eight. Ewart and junior reserve Curtis Bunker each ended up with six points, and junior reserve Mason Atwood logged his four down the home stretch when the game was decidedly out of reach.

The Buckaroos, however, couldn’t seal the deal in the championship on Day 2; behind senior Kade Hankins’ 11 points and senior Tanner Williams’ nine, Dove Creek (6-2, 0-0 SJBL, 0-0 1A SJBL) — which began the tourney demoted to No. 7 in the week-starting Class 1A Boys’ poll — edged MHS (3-5, 0-0 UHSAA 1A Region 23) by a narrow 39-36 margin.

At present, the Miner boys will begin the 2023 part of their schedule hosting 2A SJBLers Dolores on Friday, Jan. 13.