Heading into Christmas break, the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team wanted to finish the first half of the season on a winning note.
The Bulldogs got what they wanted this past weekend with a pair of victories.
On Friday night at home, MCHS knocked off the Palisade Bulldogs, 59-52, and Saturday on the road MCHS ran past the Basalt Longhorns, 78-65.
The Bulldogs moved their record to 3-2 on the season.
"It's good to get a couple of big wins before Christmas break," said Bulldogs coach Blaine Corlett.
"On Saturday, it was good to win against Basalt in their own gym."
According to Corlett, the Bulldogs played hard all four quarters against Palisade.
"I think that our kids our really playing hard and that made a big difference for us tonight," said Corlett after the win Friday. "We outhustled them, but we did get a little bit impatient at times and that is something that we will work on.
"When they can play that hard I will take that all year long."
The Bulldogs, playing their home opener Friday, came out slow, but picked things up.
"During the first quarter we had first-game jitters," said Corlett. "Once we relaxed and started to play our style of ball we did a lot better job.
"Having a big second quarter and going into the locker rooms ahead really gave us some confidence.
"We were up by 10 points at halftime against them last year and we got beat.
"I think that this is a big step for us to beat Palisade in the same situation. I like the direction we are going."
The Bulldogs, against Palisade, were led by sophomore Kyle Hazelwood and senior Justin Magnuson who finished with 11 points each. Junior Kevin Voorhees finished with nine points and senior Adam Peer chipped in with six points.
"If you total the minutes, I don't think any one kid had any more minutes than anybody else," said Corlett. "If we continue to do that we will play with anybody."
"We just played pretty good," said Hazelwood. "We drew some plays at the end during the timeouts and we just ran them the way we needed to.
"I just hit a couple of three-pointers when we needed them and we played team defense."
Against Basalt, junior Jeff Gaylord finished with a team-high 27 points.
Magnuson tossed in 12 points while Peer finished with nine points.
"Jeff (Gaylord) played really well for us," said Corlett. "He was making a good effort to stay out of foul trouble as he only finished with two fouls."
In the junior varsity game Friday, Palisade slipped by the Bulldogs, 45-41.
Sophomore Mike Charchalis led the way with 15 points and sophomore Chris Field finished with seven points.
"It was a slowed down game from what we are used to playing," said junior varsity coach Steve Maneotis. "This is only our second game and our first game where we didn't have any varsity players coming down. In the first half we didn't play with any confidence like we were expecting to lose. After halftime our kids came out and played with a lot of intensity. We cut a 14-point lead down to two and we made a competitive game out of it."
The Bulldogs will next be in action at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 when they host Aspen.