Moffat boys get some revenge
CRAIG – Here we go again.Those had to have been the words running through the heads of Moffat County loyalists Friday night after Eagle Valley senior Brian McDonough made two free throws to pull the Devils within two points, 48-46, with 44:05 remaining.The Bulldogs boys team had led by as many 14 in the game. But in the back of the minds of Moffat players, coaches and fans there had to have been some doubt; thoughts that the boys in blue were just delaying another inevitable close loss.”I was a bit frightened,” Bulldogs junior Jarrod Holmlund said. “We’ve been in that situation so many times this year.”The Bulldogs had lost seven of their previous nine Slope games, and they led in all but one of those games. Eagle Valley was the only team to have more points on the board than Moffat County during an entire game.At Gypsum, the Devils handed the Bulldogs their worst WSL loss of the year, a 59-46 clubbing.So when McDonough brought his team within two, things didn’t look good.Friday though, the Bulldogs had more to play for. If they wanted to keep their season alive they probably needed to win both Friday against the Devils and Saturday against Battle Mountain.Moffat kept its poise. The Bulldogs didn’t turn the ball over. For once, it was the other team that missed key shots down the stretch and it resulted in a 60-51 win for the home team.
“We couldn’t hit a free throw,” Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said. “We usually shoot it better and rebound better. Tonight, Moffat County did those things better.”The Bulldogs weren’t spectacular from the free throw line in the fourth quarter-7-for-13-but when they needed one from the charity stripe they converted in the last two minutes.As Gabriel said, the Devils couldn’t find the net late in the game. With 24 seconds left, Eagle Valley senior Cody Gerard missed three free throws after getting fouled from beyond the arc. With the Bulldogs up, 59-51, it may have already been over, but that cued the “Warm up the bus” chants from the Bulldogs’ student section. Gerard had a game-high 20 points, but was 2-for-7 from the line in the fourth quarter. Moffat led throughout and kept the Devils at a distance with consistent offensive play. There were none of the five-minute scoring droughts that had plagued them most of the season.”We kept moving when they were away from the ball,” Moffat Coach Mike LeWarne said. “Our scoring droughts come when we stop looking inside and tonight they kept looking.”The Bulldogs’ inside players showed their perimeter teammates their appreciation.Holmlund and junior Kevin Loughran combined for 27 points. Add in senior Hugo Quezada’s three-point contribution and those three accounted for 50 percent of Moffat’s scoring.”The inside shots fell for us,” said Holmlund, who scored 10. “We had chances for some good put-backs and a lot of guys contributed tonight.”Junior guards Zach Haddan and Chance Buckner combined for 21 points. Buckner hit four three pointers, including one with 3:46 left to put his team up by five, 51-46. Junior point guard Derek Duran led when leaders are supposed to. He scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-11 overall and 5-8 in the Slope. The Devils are now 10-10 overall and 6-6 in their first season in 4A.The Bulldogs are on the road today to try to avenge a 48-43 loss to Battle Mountain. Things don’t get any easier for the Devils. They take on league-leading Steamboat Springs today. The Sailors haven’t lost since December. Lady Devils fallIt was just a coincidence, but it looked nice on paper.On senior night for the Moffat County girls basketball team, the only girls in blue and white to score in the first quarter were the seniors. Erin Robinson scored nine of her team high 11 and Brandie Telfer contributed four of her six points. Those 13 points gave the Bulldogs a 13-8 lead against Eagle Valley and once the rest of Moffat County decided to score, the game belonged to the girls in blue.Behind a 22-0 run that spanned from 3:40 in the second quarter to 3:51 in the third quarter the Bulldogs defeated the Devils 62-43.”I thought we played with them the first half,” said Eagle Valley coach Jamie Mayne. “The lulls in our play hurt us.”
The Devils didn’t have too many lulls the first 11 minutes of the game. Eagle Valley Junior Rachel Sandoval hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter. Her final one tied the game at 19 apiece with 3:40 left in the half. But the Devils were unable to find any other scoring than from the outside in the second quarter. By the time senior Kenzie Shreeve found her feel inside, scoring eight of her 19 in the fourth quarter, it was two late. The Devils had already hit the skids for too long. Early in the game a full-court press from the Devils caused the Bulldogs to turn the ball over six times in the first quarter, but the press lost its effectiveness. Scoring dispersion was a plus for the Bulldogs Friday night. Mayne said her team came in looking to stop Telfer, who was averaging 18 points a game. Mission accomplished. Telfer had a season-low, six points. But she had plenty of help.Four other Bulldogs, Robinson, 11, Charchalis, 10, junior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos, 10 and sophomore Cayla Maneotis, 10, all reached double digits.”We weren’t prepared for 54 (Maneotis) to step up like she did,” Mayne said. “She played well.”Moffat coach Craig Mortensen said he is pleased with the way his team has progressed the last month of the season. A19-point win against an Eagle Valley team that had won six of its last seven games shows his team isn’t losing focus.The Bulldogs will try to finish undefeated in the Western Slope League with a win on the road today against Battle Mountain. The Devils need a win today against Steamboat to finish third in the Slope. David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 x211 or email@example.comVail Colorado