Mike LeWarne said he would never blame his team's play on the referees but the Moffat County High School boys basketball coach had a hard time finding anything nice to say about the men in stripes on the team's road trip last weekend.
"I'll just say this, in the Palisade game everybody on the floor was making a lot of mistakes," he said.
The Bulldogs were hit with four technical fouls in the first half of the Palisade game, one apiece to senior Joe Padon and Mike LeWarne and two on junior Anthony Loughran. The junior post player was kicked out of the game for first throwing the ball and then saying something to the refs afterward.
Moffat County was up, 13-2, at the time of the game's first technical to Padon but went into the locker room down, 32-27. The only numerical lead they had going into the second half was a 16-4 advantage in the fouls.
"I told the kids at halftime that there may have been a lot of adversity that we couldn't control," LeWarne said, "but we had had to keep playing our game and that would let us overcome it."
In the second half, LeWarne looked to the bench to help add a spark and he said freshmen Kevin Loughran and Derek Duran and sophomore Jared Lowther provided the needed depth.
"The starters hit some big shots for us," he said. "But those three guys really came out and did things we would expect of veterans
to help us win."
Moffat County came back to outscore Palisade, 39-25, in the second half for the 66-57 win. Pablo Loya had 20 points, Padon had 14 and, oddly enough, the nine points that Loughran had in the first quarter were the final advantage for MCHS.
"You know when you have parents from the other team come up to you and apologize for the referees' conduct after the game, something is wrong," LeWarne said. "Regardless, I think I was about as proud of that win as any this year because of the way everybody battled in the second half."
While the Bulldogs were able to overcome the loss of Anthony Loughran Friday, his absence Saturday (an ejection results in sitting out the next game) was too much against the Delta Panthers.
In the Bulldogs 66-44 loss, the two post players for the Panthers, Bryce Atchley and Blake Carlquist, outscored the boys in blue with 24 and 23 points respectively.
"We just got outworked," LeWarne said of the team's second conference loss. "They were all over the boards inside and we didn't have an answer."
The Bulldogs fought to get within two points in the third quarter but consecutive offensive rebounds and put backs from the Panthers re-opened up the lead.
"Delta came out ready to play," LeWarne said. "We kept taking and missing the same shots instead of looking for an easier one and it dug us in a hole."
While the loss takes away the opportunity for the Bulldogs to tie Rifle with a victory over them Friday, LeWarne said it doesn't take from the game's importance.
"Rifle hasn't lost in the conference and we haven't lost at home," he said. "So it still makes for a pretty big game."
Moffat County sits alone in second place in the conference at the moment with two losses. The Bulldogs are sandwiched between Rifle, with no losses, and Glenwood Springs with four setbacks.