melio may very well be the best basketball athlete in the region. Tall, fast, explosive, passionate and emotive — all describe Darmelio.  On Jan. 5 at home, Damelio again showed all early at last Friday’s game the tremendous athleticism No. 21 is blessed with, putting on an early display of offensive and defensive acumen above all others on the court.

As all that could be expected, the Bulldogs rely heavily on Damelio’s leadership as well as his considerable offensive and defensive contributions.  Like many teams with such a standout student-athlete, maybe too much.

After committing four personal fouls before nine minutes of the game had elapsed, an undisciplined, unfocused and over zealous Damelio found himself Velcro fastened to a spot on the bench until late in the game, leaving the workhorse duties underneath the bucket for other Bulldogs to carry. And what immediately followed for the remainder of the first half was poor basketball fundamentals as the Bulldogs committed numerous unforced errors, made bad shot selections and lost attention to detail as the Bobcats took advantage enough to stay in the game while the Bulldogs needed essential floor leadership.

Bulldog student-athlete freshman No. 44 Antonio Cordova didn’t just answer the call to make up offensive and defensive loss during Damelio’s absence.  Cordova took absolute command of the detrimental situation and dominated the paint with 17 points off a half dozen offensive rebounds while pummeling the boards defensively with fury in deep downtown Manzanola.  Cordova did not just own the painted key for the Bulldogs. Cordova remained a key component of the Bulldogs passing game as the team ran the wheel house with fluid transitions from one side of the court to the other.  

Damelio did have a late game push before fouling out with his sixth and technical foul in the fourth period scoring 17 points for the game. Bulldog student-athlete junior No. 12 Zander Lamorie showed his fierce grit in abundance throughout the game, driving with Primero gusto thru the key for nine points. No. 45 Joey Archuleta added eight points and No.3 Andrew Lutz rounded out all scoring with five points

Do not let the final game score 56-44 in favor of Primero lead anyone to believe this was a blow out victory. The Bulldogs struggled critically in the first half after Damelio was benched, the team losing focus, patience and detail for most of the half, leaving the Bobcats competitive in the game throughout.  The core athletes in Bulldog country rely far too much from offensive cornerstone Damelio.  And what the Bulldogs learned from the rest of their victory over the Bobcats is that no single player will grant them a championship.  But, the core of the team certainly will give the Bobcats a chance.

The Primero Bobcats are 5-1 on the season while moving soon into the midpoint of the winter sports schedule.  The Bobcats may be the best, most athletic team in the region.  But, the Bobcats must gain discipline and patience from Damelio to move themselves up the championship scale or the Bobcats take the chance on something other than finishing the season the best basketball team among their peers.

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