Disappointed to have fouled out while trying to disrupt Rocky Ford’s Mighty Meloneers during Ignacio’s Class 2A State Tournament Sweet 16 comeback bid, Charlize Valdez was at least somewhat contented by the fact she’d left the court with nothing left to give.
“You’ve just got to be in the moment and play it out, take every moment and remember it,” the senior guard said.
With the Bobcats completing the COVID-19 condensed 2021 season having at least logged a first-round victory inside IHS Gymnasium over Hoehne en route to a 10-5 finish finalized by a 49-40 loss at Rocky Ford, Valdez recently received Class 2A All-State honorable mention distinction on top of a First Team All-San Juan Basin League selection.
IHS went 6-2 against all 2A/1A SJBL resistance, and 5-1 versus the circuit’s 2A crews.
“I’ve had a big heart for basketball and sports in general from when I was little, ” she said. “And all four years of (high-school) basketball, going to every single practice, working my butt off then coming to the games and falling in love with the sport even more every day. So, it means a lot; it really does. I put in the work just doing what I love. It’s a big accomplishment.”
Valdez totaled 149 points at 9.9 per game, while senior guard and First Team All-SJBL pick Jayden Brunson registered a team-most 197 at 13.1 per outing. Named Second Team All-League were senior center/forward Shelcie Gosney, who returned from knee surgery last season to total 119 points (7.9 ppg), plus junior guard/forward Avaleena Nanaeto (86 points, 5.7 ppg).
Dove Creek senior guard Grace Hatfield, a Hastings (Neb.) College commit who averaged 20.5 points, was named SJBL Girls’ Player of the Year and also Second Team All-State in Class 1A.
Julie Kibel received Coach of the Year for leading Dove Creek to the 1A state tournament’s Great 8, where the Bulldogs (14-1 overall, 10-0 SJBL) suffered a season-ending 40-38 loss at Kit Carson.
Statewide, the Class 2A Player of the Year was Limon junior forward/guard Trista Marx; Bart O’Dwyer was chosen 2A Coach of the Year after guiding LHS (16-3 overall) to the state championship, 63-50 over Wray (13-4) inside Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor World Arena.