Sanchez, Warriors rally in loss to Cortez
Central pulls within five points, but can't earn its first win
The return of leading scorer Taylor Sanchez on Friday night wasn’t enough for the Central High School boys basketball team to pull out its first win of the season.
The Warriors (0-13) fell 69-57 to Montezuma-Cortez (10-4) after pulling within five points late in the fourth quarter.
Central and Cortez played vastly different schedules going into the Southwestern League opener. The Warriors played several Front Range teams that had a combined record of 64-49; Cortez has played seven schools from New Mexico, Utah or Wyoming, along with nonleague games against 4A and 3A teams in Colorado.
“I don’t think we did a good enough job executing the little things,” Central coach Ryan Hayden said. “Defensively in the first half we didn’t play well enough. It’s hard to give up 40 points in a half and come out on top in the final 16 minutes.”
Sanchez led Central in scoring after missing the past two games with 16 points, but struggled from 3-point range, going 0-4. Edward Becoat added nine and single-handedly brought the Warriors within single digits when he knocked down two free throws, then on the ensuing possession, stole the ball and completed an acrobatic shot, was fouled and made the free throw.
From there, the Warriors struggled to maintain possession. The Cortez defense, led by Devin Fox, forced seven turnovers in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Fox had six steals.
“Layups didn’t fall our way tonight, but they battled and deserved to be in the game there at the end and they were,” Hayden said.
The Warriors play Durango today. The 8-4 Demons average 48.7 points per game and feature a balanced trio of guards, something Hayden wants to be prepared for on both sides of the ball.
“You know (today) we really have to work on our defensive rotations,” Hayden said. “Offensively we have to work on being the aggressors. Sometimes I think we just lob it up there and hope it goes in, rather than really trying to get to the rim.”