The Moffat County High School freshman boys basketball team went on the road Tuesday to open their season against the Meeker Cowboys. The Bulldogs played a good game and won 43-26.
"I was happy with the win," freshman Coach Tom Dockstader said. "But the effort wasn't there in the first half."
"It felt good to win the first game of the season," freshman Aaron Sanchez said.
The Bulldogs played sluggish in the first half. The defense and the offense weren't there, Dockstader said.
"The team didn't play hard in the first half," he added. "But we were leading at the half 15-5."
The Bulldogs overcame their first-game jitters and the offense settled down to outscore the Cowboys 28-21 in the second half.
"I was happy with the offense," coach said. "But they missed a lot of easy lay ups."
The team likes to play a four high man-to man offense. They try to spread the floor and get the ball to their post man, 6'1" Anthony Loughran, who can score from underneath, Dockstader said.
"Loughran has great foot work and knows the moves in the post," he added. "Loughran will play varsity on and off during the season, but we have our back center, Kyle Eitel."
The Bulldogs scored most of their points with the inside game and had a good outside game when Meeker shut down their post players, the coach said.
"We shot well from the outside," he added. "We had three, three pointers in the game,"
The Bulldogs had a great transition game going in the second half, but missed a lot of shots, Dockstader said.
The 'Dogs' defense picked it up at the other end of the court. They pressured the ball with their full-court and half-court presses, which forced several turnovers and resulted in easy buckets for the 'Dogs.
"We played a man-to-man defense the whole game," Dockstader said. "With a full-court press we can trap the guards in the corners, on the sidelines or on the baseline. This can force a 10-second violation, a bad pass or create steals. We scored a lot of points on turnovers."
The press caught the Cowboys off guard in the third quarter, but they adjusted well in the fourth and scored 13 points, the coach said.
"Overall, the defense played well," Dockstader said. "But we still need to improve."
"We have a balanced team and our scoring is a real attribute," he said. "The kids practice hard every day and I'm looking for good things to happen."
The junior varsity Bulldogs played the second game against the Cowboys and had a rough night, losing 57-28.
"I'm not happy with their performance," Coach Steve Maneotis said. "We have been building up all week for this and then lose."
The Bulldogs went to the Grand Junction Tournament last weekend. Even though they lost three games to 5A teams, they started playing well in the third game, which showed they were building up for the season, Maneotis explained.
The Bulldogs had their defensive and offensive woes throughout the game.
"We didn't shoot or pass the ball well," Maneotis said. "There was no defensive effort either."
"Meeker is a tough 3A team and Moffat County is a 4A team," he added. "We must win games like this."
The Bulldogs offense struggled all game and scored only 28 points.
"We missed a lot of easy points and didn't run the ball," Maneotis said. "We were not patient with the ball, didn't work the ball until we got a good shot and had more turnovers than points. We need five guys that can work together and take care of the ball."
The Bulldogs will be practicing hard this week to change their game.
"The team needs to step it up," the coach said. "We had a fundamental breakdown Wednesday and are practicing the little things like catching, passing and shooting the ball. When the kids are working hard they will start winning games. They have a tough season ahead of them. They must come out every night and be ready to work and play."
"I feel the team has a lot of work to do and has the right attitude to change, but that's up to the kids. They need to get excited about playing and competing," Maneotis said.