Perimeter defense keys win for Bulldogs

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Moffat County's post players now know what it's like for their opponents.

Evergreen was the first team this year to match the Bulldogs' size. But despite 26 points from Cougar sophomore Tricia Oakes, the Bulldogs' defense and hustle allowed them to come away with a 59-40 win Friday night.

"This was a good lesson for us," Moffat coach Craig Mortensen said. "(Evergreen) pushed us on both ends of the court and challenged our post players to play defense."

In the first quarter, the game was reminiscent of the Bulldogs' previous blowout victories against the Cougars. Evergreen didn't have an answer for Moffat's transition game, and turnover on the perimeter kept the Cougars off the board. The Bulldogs led 16-3 after the first eight minutes.

Then Oakes came alive.

She scored 15 points in the second quarter to bring her Cougars within 6 at one point. Moffat answered almost point for point, but Evergreen's play, particularly from Oakes, allowed the Cougars to outscore the Bulldogs 21-19 in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 35-24 lead.

"Our post players had to play better defense on her away from the ball," coach Craig Mortensen said. "She was getting better position on us."

Moffat County adjusted in the second half and held Oakes to nine points.

The Bulldogs outscored Ever--green only 24-16 in the second half, but the 16-3 start made the difference.

"Moffat County came out and put it to us," Evergreen coach Ali Johnston said. "We had 27 turnovers, which is a sign of a young team."

The Cougars' all-underclassmen lineup came in with a 2-1 record. The 19-point setback was the worst of the season.

"Moffat County was a Sweet 16 team last year, and I think they could at least get back to there this year," Johnston said.

Mortensen was more hopeful that his team would learn from Friday than look that far ahead.

"We learned when to do what tonight," he said. "We were aggressive defensively, and that kept us in the lead."

Although Oakes stole the individual show, Workman and junior post player Cayla Maneotis combined to score 29 points (15 for Workman, 14 for Maneotis).

Those points neutralized Oakes' contribution. The Bull--dog guards had 30 points, led by senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos' 13.

Next up for the Bulldogs (4-0) is a home game against Fruita Monument at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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