When Bulldogs senior Kyle Hazelwood and junior Pablo Loya are held in single digits, a win is nearly impossible.
This was the case Saturday afternoon at Mesa State College when Moffat County faced the Steamboat Springs Sailors (14-8) for the third time this season, this time for the fifth place in the district tournament the final qualifying spot for the regional tournament.
The Sailors held Hazelwood and Loya, the Bulldogs leading scorers, to a combined seven points in the game through a well laid-out defensive scheme, winning the match up 54-37.
"They had a great game plan that took Hazelwood out of the game for us," coach Blaine Corlett said. "It came down to they shot well and we didn't."
The first quarter opened up with the Bulldogs (13-9) staying close to the Sailors by spreading the scoring across the field. Four separate Bulldogs found the hoop and were led by sophomore Anthony Loughran, who scored five points in the quarter, ending it 14-11 in favor of the Sailors.
Loughran closed out the night leading the Bulldogs scoring with 12 points.
The second quarter went much like the first, with the Bulldogs defense allowing for 14 Sailor points while scoring 10 themselves. Senior Mike Charchalis fought in the paint for six points, while Hazelwood repeated his first-quarter showing by scoring a single field goal.
The Sailors' defense clogged the lane with no less than three defenders every time Hazelwood made a drive, making it nearly impossible for the 5-foot-11 point guard to find a shot.
The half closed out with the Sailors ahead 28-21.
"They ran a man-up zone and we couldn't find the shots we wanted," Loughran said. "It was a tough game."
The game went even further downhill for the Bulldogs in the second half when their point production dropped off.
The Sailors scoring remained consistent and drew a wide gap in the game with three threes hit by three separate players in the third quarter.
The Sailors Jeff Aragon, Cody Sherrill and John Daschle hit threes all within the first four minutes of the period, while allowing only two points from Loughran in the same amount of time.
Except for a bucket by Loughran one other time in the quarter and a lay-up by Charchalis, the Bulldogs scoring was non-existent.
The fourth quarter went much the same with the Bulldogs finding only seven points and the Sailors scoring nine.
After an early lay-up by Kyle Nelson the rest of the Sailors points came from the line, as the Bulldogs fouled four times and two out.
Hazelwood left the game at 4:16 after fouling Aragon. Charchalis followed suit two minutes later.
"It's big losing those two, they're two of our best players," Corlett said.
The game was in the Sailors hands entering the fourth period and remained that way behind two lay-ups and five free throws, giving Moffat County's cross-valley rivals the last spot to regionals.
"I feel we had it in us to be a state tournament contending team," Loughran said. "We worked hard and had a great season. We just couldn't get it done in this last game."