In their first games of 2020, the Telluride High School basketball teams recorded a number of historic “firsts.”
The Telluride boys team, for the first time in recent history, played against an undefeated, reigning state champion. And the Telluride girls fielded a team that included a player who participated in her first basketball game ever.
“Yes, Amy Guerrero played in her first game ever,” Telluride head girls coach Tim Halliday said. “And she came in and impacted the game right away, getting a loose ball. That was really awesome for her.”
Guerrero, a freshman who had been sidelined by injury early in the season, entered the nonleague game at De Beque Friday just before halftime. She chased down a rebound and then gathered a loose ball and passed to a teammate.
Guerrero’s fellow Miners leaped off the bench and cheered loudly as Guerrero made the most of her first appearance in an official, full-court basketball game.
The effort of Guerrero and her teammates against the speedy Dragons brought a smile to Halliday’s face, as the Miners returned to game action after the long holiday break.
“The girls have given good effort all season, including tonight,” Halliday said after De Beque broke open a close game in the second half, winning 59-37.
“One thing I really liked is we had a bunch of girls in the gym over break, shooting,” Halliday said. “It showed today because we hit some perimeter shots and that’s something we’ve struggled with in the past. Those girls putting some work in over break was awesome to see.”
Telluride’s Kyra Levan and Margaux Lovely both connected from the outside. Levan drained five shots from the field and added three free throws to lead the Miners with 13 points. Lovely, who connected on two 3-pointers, added 12 points for the Miners.
Melena Krownapple also hit a 3-pointer for the Telluride girls. Morgan Watkinson contributed 6 points.
“Kyra (Levan) from 18 feet was not going to miss tonight,” Halliday said, adding that improved shooting will play dividends through the 2020 portion of the schedule.
After the De Beque girls used a pesky full-court zone press to build a 17-7 first-quarter lead, the Miners matched the Dragons with 13 second-quarter points.
“They were pressing us to speed us up,” Halliday said, adding that facing a tough pressing defense will help the Telluride girls as they head into conference play.
“Their No. 11 girl can really play,” Halliday said of De Beque sophomore Railey Largent. “I have to give her credit. They actually used a couple full-court presses.”
Largent was a member of De Beque’s Class 1A state championship track and field team last spring, as she ran a leg on two state championship relay teams for the Dragons.
“We have to recognize what they are doing (with the presses),” Halliday said. “I told the girls to make the easy pass; don’t force the hard pass.”
He said the first game after the break enabled the Miners to get back into full-speed, game situations.
“There are definitely some things to work on, like being patient on offense and not rushing,” Halliday said as the Telluride girls moved to 2-4 overall this season. The Miners are 1-0 in the combined 1A/2A San Juan Basin League, tied with Ignacio and Ridgway.
The Telluride girls, after a nonleague game Tuesday against Durango this week, will return to conference play on Saturday, when they host Dolores. Results of the Durango game were not immediately available before press time Tuesday afternoon. On Jan. 21, the Telluride girls will play at Nucla. A conference showdown at Ignacio is set for Jan.25.
The D eBeque girls improved to 4-3 overall behind 17 points each from Jadyn Graham and Kendall Conway. Largent added 9 points for the Dragons.
The Telluride High School boys basketball team had to open 2020 against the defending Class 1A state champions Friday, falling to the Dragons 49-41. The Miners stunned the De Beque in the first quarter, jumping to a 7-0 lead. Tommy Wells hit the first basket for Telluride; Jack Courter followed with a 3-pointer.
After a steal by South Livermore, Dillon Sheehan hit a layup against the Dragons, who were playing in front of their customary large home crowd.
Another 3-pointer from Livermore and a jumper from Kaden Katz helped Telluride to a 14-13 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
But the Dragons, behind all-state junior Wesley Ryan, surged in the second quarter to take a 29-24 halftime lead.
They extended the lead in the third quarter with a 17-1 run, keyed by the rebounding and scoring of junior Jaden Jordan.
Jordan and Ryan were key members of the 2018-19 De Beque boys, who won the Class 1A state title with a perfect 25-0 record.
The Dragons extended the team’s winning streak to 32 in a row with the win over the Telluride boys.
A fierce defensive stand by the Miners limited the high-scoring Dragons to only 2 points in the fourth quarter of the nonconference game.
Marcus Leyva added a 3-pointer for Telluride in the final period.
Katz led the Miners in scoring with 10 points. Sheehan and Courter added 8 points each.
Telluride head boys coach Brandon Bredlau said the Miners played extremely well in the first quarter.
“Then some of their guys got hot,” Bredlau said. “We’ve been a first-quarter team all year. We have to try to keep that through the whole game.”
The Telluride boys were handcuffed by foul trouble throughout.
Plus, they played without Hayden Tealdi, who was out with injury.
“We were missing Hayden. We’re excited to get him back,” Bredlau said. “At some points we played very well, but then we had some slip-ups.”
He said he was very pleased with the defensive effort that limited the defending state champions to only 2 points in the final quarter.
De Beque’s Ryan, a former state high-jump champion, led all scorers with 24 points, including six 3-pointers.
Jordan added 15 points as the Dragons improved to 6-0 this season. De Beque is coached by veteran Jake Higuera, a former longtime girls coach at Grand Valley who sent several girls on to play college basketball. He’s unbeaten after taking over the De Beque boys last season.
One night after the long road trip to De Beque, the Telluride boys hosted Class 3A Aspen Saturday.
The Skiers eventually pulled out a 59-51 win in Telluride to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Aspen boys are coached by Alex Schrempf, the son of former NBA and University of Washington standout Detlef Schrempf.
The Telluride boys moved to 3-5 on the season after the weekend games. The Miners are 1-0 in the San Juan Basin League, tied at the top with Ignacio, Mancos and Ridgway.
The Telluride boys will host Dolores this Saturday, with the rivalry clash at Ignacio one week later on Jan. 25.