One of the most important body parts for the members of Moffat County High School boys basketball team this year has been their ears.
"They really go out there and try to do what we tell them," coach Mike LeWarne said. "They execute well, and that's coach-speak for listen well."
If the Bulldog coaching staff said "go out and beat Delta by at least 25" then the Bulldogs listened well in the first round of the Western Slope League Tournament in Craig on Friday.
The Bulldogs hit eight 3-pointers and had three players in double digits as they outscored the Panthers every quarter in a 64-36 win.
"I thought we shot the ball well for most of the game," LeWarne said. "Our big guys got in some early foul trouble in the first half, so we needed the outside play."
Junior Jarrod Holmlund had three fouls, and juniors Zach Haddan and Kevin Loughran and senior Hugo Quezada picked up two calls in the first half.
The Bulldogs have five players hit from the outside in the first half. They went into halftime up 30-15.
In the second half, Holmlund and Loughran stayed on the floor and found the basket. Holmlund finished with a double-double. He scored 13 and pulled down 10 boards. Loughran just missed by one rebound. He had 10 points and nine boards.
Quezada added six points for the big men to help the Bulldog outscore the Panthers 24-14 in the paint.
"I was a little too tense to start the game," Loughran said. "The guards went out and had an excellent game, and things opened up for us in the second half."
One guard whom LeWarne and Loughran recognized was junior Derek Duran. He led the Bulldogs with 14 points and he also had three steals.
"Derek returned tonight," LeWarne said. "Not to take away from before because he's done some good things, but tonight he took over at times."
Duran was five-for-10 from the field with two 3-pointers, and he sank five of six free throws.
On the defensive side, the Bulldogs held the Panthers to single digits in all but the third quarter. No Panthers player ripped the nets for double digits. Kyle Clanton led the team with nine points.
The win improved the Bulldogs' record to 3-1 and dropped the Demons to 1-3.
At 1:15 p.m. today, the Bulldogs will face Glenwood Springs and returning WSL player of the year Sean Flohr. In the battle of the underworld, the Demons escaped the Eagle Valley Devils, 60-59, in the first round.
Steamboat Springs moved on to face Rifle in the other semifinal. The Sailors defeated Palisade, 72-53. Rifle defeated Battle Mountain, but the score wasn't available at press time.
The championship game will be played at 8:15 p.m.