Before this weekend, senior Joe Padon was expected to do one thing every game for the Moffat County High School boys basketball team -- guard the other team's best player. After this weekend, other teams may need to start assigning one of their better defensive players to him as he was the Bulldogs' leading scorer in wins over Palisade and Delta.
"Joe Padon was huge for us this weekend," head coach Mike LeWarne said of Padon, who scored 20 and 18 respectively. "Other teams in the league will see his production and realize that it will take more than shutting down Pablo (Loya) and Anthony (Loughran) to stop us, and that was already a hard task."
With the two wins, 74-61 over Palisade and 66-44 over Delta, the Bulldogs improved to 8-2 and 7-0 in games against Colorado teams.
"Right now, we are playing well," LeWarne said. "A big key for us has been shot selection and patience on offense."
Senior Pablo Loya hit slightly under 50 percent from beyond the three-point line in the two games. The sharp shooter hit his 40th three of the season over the weekend and of his 37 points, 27 were from beyond the arch.
With the encouragement of the home crowd, the Bulldogs jumped out to big leads in both games and went into halftime up 49-24 Friday and 37-21 Saturday.
"It was impressive to go into halftime with such big leads," LeWarne said. "Both of these teams have played others in the conference well with Palisade beating Glenwood Springs by 20 in Glenwood and Delta losing to Steamboat by two. So they weren't pushovers. We just have guys putting team goals in front of individual goals right now and it's resulting in big wins."
LeWarne said the crowds were impressive, particularly on Friday night for retro night at the gymnasium. Apparently one fan thought that retro night meant bringing back the art of streaking and he ran the court during a break in the action in the third quarter.
"These kids feed off the crowd and it really fueled us in both games," LeWarne said. "It's fun to play well and I hope we can keep the enthusiasm and confidence throughout conference."
The Bulldogs are promised a big crowd for their next game Friday. The Bulldogs face the fifth-ranked Steamboat Springs Sailors, who are also undefeated against Colorado teams. Last year, 1,650 fans packed into the MCHS gym and LeWarne hopes to see much of the same this year.
"We hope to break attendance record with 1,750 fans," he said. "This is said a lot, but no matter who is ranked or regardless of records the Steamboat vs. Moffat County game is always going to be a battle."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.