Bulldogs lose to Class 2A Panthers

Rangely -- There is a trend starting to develop that the Moffat County High School boys basketball team would like to see come to an end. In the last two games for Moffat County, the Bulldogs' opponents bounced back from losses to have one of their best shooting nights to defeat the Blue and White.

"We haven't had a lot of breaks so far," said coach Mike LeWarne. "But we can't make any excuses and need to keep getting better."

The Rangely Panthers rebounded from a 15-for-47 shooting performance against Steamboat Springs to hit 10 three-pointers against the Bulldogs in a 61-52 win Saturday. This came after Evergreen hit its first nine shots against the Bulldogs in a 64-46 win.

"This is what we've been looking for," said Rangley coach Mike Skelton. "We had a hard time getting all of our shooters on the same page this year, but today once one started hitting they all caught on."

The Bulldogs started out as the team shooting well, as they led the entire first quarter and held the Panthers to eight points. The second quarter was a different story as Moffat County's shooting went cold and Rangely found its rhythm on offense.

The Panthers took their first lead, 15-14, three minutes into the second quarter with a 7-2 run and never trailed the rest of the quarter. With 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the quarter, Moffat County senior Anthony Loughran picked up his third foul. At that point, the Panthers were ahead 19-18 and went on a 9-2 run to finish the quarter.

The Panthers went into halftime with a 28-21 lead after outscoring the Bulldogs 20-9 in the second quarter.

In the second half, the Bulldogs made several runs to come within five points, but three pointers from Luke Scott, Greg Skelton and Brian Skelton answered anything Moffat County countered with. The leaders on the top-ranked team in Class 2A accounted for 53 of the team's 61 points with Scott, G. Skelton and B. Skelton scoring 18, 18 and 17 points respectively.

"We knew Scott was an OK shooter, but not as good as he was today," LeWarne said. "But we didn't get into his face enough."

The Bulldogs were led offensively by Loughran's 20 points and sophomore Derek Duran's 14.

"You could see that Anthony and Derek put in the work over break," LeWarne said. "I didn't see a lot of improvement in some other areas."

The teams will meet again in two weeks in Craig for a rematch.

"They're a team that is going to improve and it will be tough for us to get two games from them," coach Skelton said. "We'll have to have another good shooting night and be more focused than we were against Steamboat."

LeWarne was more focused on his team's start in Western Slope Conference play this Friday.

"We're struggling to find an identity," said LeWarne about his 2-4 team. "But we're 0-0 in the league and we need to go into that forgetting about our tough losses."

The Bulldogs will play the other Bulldogs in the league with a trip to Palisade Friday.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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