Bulldogs sweep away Huskies
EAGLE-VAIL ” Saturday night’s game between the Moffat County and Battle Mountain boys’ basketball team was typical February basketball ” intense, raucous, physical and desperate.
And in the end, the visiting Bulldogs had just a little bit more, beating the Huskies, 60-55, and taking a large step toward a state playoff berth.
“This was a big win,” said Bulldogs coach Steve Maneotis, whose team upped its record to 7-6 in the 4A Slope and 8-13 overall. “This is a win that really keeps us in the playoff picture. If we take care of business, we should be in the playoffs (in fourth place in the Slope). We came in here and played a good game on both ends.
“We’re in control of our destiny. If we can go win at Eagle Valley, we’ll be in the playoffs.”
Moffat County heads to Gypsum Friday night to face the Devils, and will likely be facing a familiar scenario as the Bulldogs did Saturday night ” playing a team that’s out of the playoff hunt on its senior night.
Battle Mountain (2-10 and 4-15), to its credit, gave the Bulldogs everything they could handle an a very physical game.
“We were just missing one more guy who had a little bit more meat who could have been a little more physical to keep control in that second and third quarter,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. “They were running (Blake Najera, J.T. Hadden and Chayton Owens) on doubles and posts. We couldn’t stay up with the physical-ness.”
It was Owens who did the most damage, scoring a game-high 29 points, most of which came in the paint, an area Moffat County dominated.
“I think we did a really good job in the paint,” Maneotis said. “Our job was try to get their two power players (Kyle Woolley and Ashlin Romero) into some foul trouble. We didn’t do that, but we did do a good job in the paint and we took better care of the basketball.”
The Bulldogs built a six-point lead in the second quarter and parried assorted Battle Mountain charges for the rest of the game. Eli Buckner had 10 points for Moffat, while Najera had nine.
For the Huskies it was another tight loss in league play to Moffat. The Bulldogs topped Battle Mountain, 71-69, in overtime in Craig last month. On Senior Night, Huskies senior Ashlin Romero led the way with 27 points, while Kyle Woolley had 10. Before the game, the team honored all its seniors, including Travis Valdez, Byron Pottoroff, Victor Rios and Jeremy Windham.
Their coach said that the Class of 2008 had made great contributions to the program.
“We’ve dropped four games by a total of 13 points,” Tronsrue said. “That’s the difference between being almost .500 and being 4-15. We’ve made great strides. We’re playing harder. Guys are playing together.”
Lady Bulldogs roll
The 4A Slope girls basketball race seems to be coming down to a coin flip, literally. Moffat County and Glenwood Springs split their season series and those are the only league losses for both teams.
The Bulldogs and Demons have no common nonconference opponents, so if both teams run the table, it is a coin flip for the league title.
“I don’t even know. Heads. I’ll go with heads,” Moffat guard Angie Charchalis joked after dropping 29 points on Battle Mountain as the Bulldogs routed the Huskies, 89-27, Saturday night.
Moffat, 12-1 and 18-3, plays at Eagle Valley Friday, while Glenwood finishes at Battle Mountain Tuesday and home against Palisade Friday.
After seeing the Bulldogs smother Battle Mountain in just about every way imaginable, you don’t want to bet against them in the postseason.
“We try to do things the right way, play hard,” Moffat coach Craig Mortensen said. “We wanted to play the way normally play. We want to be as fundamental as we can, defensively especially. We’re quick. We like to press.”
“By the end of our season, we have to stay focused, no matter who we’re playing,” Charchalis said. “Coach always tells us we have to get better every game. We try to take every game as a learning experience.”
Jorgiea Raftopoulos added 19 for the Bulldogs who led 23-5 after the first period and kept rolling.
The Huskies, nevertheless, spotlighted their seniors Brittany Lopez, Megan Houghton, Emily LyBarger and Kyleigh Quintana.
“Our seniors deserve all the respect they can get,” Huskies coach Andrew Schmid said. “They’re there every day, practicing in the summer. They were there all four years. They put in a lot of time and effort and gone through a lot of tough seasons. It takes a lot of character to do that.”
Both Battle Mountain teams host Glenwood Springs Tuesday. The girls tip at 5:45 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:15.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.