Early 3-point shooting, defense propel boys to win

GREEN RIVER, WYO. -- It wasn't the complete game it hoped for, but the Moffat County boys basketball team shot well enough and played good enough defense Thursday to open up a double-digit lead early and hold on for a win.

The Bulldogs hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and held Mountain View, Wyo., to five points in the second quarter to open up a 35-19 lead at halftime. They went on to win, 65-48, in the first day of the Flaming Gorge Classic.

"We didn't know much about Mountain View except that they had a big guy who could score," Moffat County coach Scott Parker said. "Our goal was to come out and put pressure on them."

Mountain View's "big guy who could score" was 6-foot-6 junior Kyle Bullinger. He lit the Bulldogs up for nine points in the first quarter.

Moffat's ability to hit the outside shot kept it ahead of Bullinger's fast start. Four Bulldogs hit from the three, with senior Cass Thompson making two.

"Our dribble penetration created open shots on the outside," Thompson said. "Penetration allows for set shots, which we can hit consistently."

In the second quarter, Moffat's three-quarter court, 1-2-1-1 press kept Bullinger and the Buffalos from establishing any offensive rhythm.

"We didn't always force a turnover, but they took a lot of bad shots," Parker said. "The press can do a lot of good things other than create turnovers."

One thing the press created was a double-digit lead for Moffat County. The Bulldogs went into halftime ahead by 16 points.

"The first half showed that we were over the loss against Grand Junction Central (on Saturday)," junior Evan Hertzog said. "It gave us some confidence back."

Mountain View stayed in the game by outscoring the Bulldogs, 11-8, in the third quarter.

"They adjusted to our offense the second half," Hertzog said.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs matched Mountain View nearly basket for basket to keep the lead at double digits.

"I thought our effort the first half took some out of Mountain View's legs," Parker said. "They were never ever able to make a big run in the second half."

Mountain View, 3-3, started the tournament ranked fourth in Class 3A in Wyoming. Class 3A is the equivalent to a 2A or 1A school size in Colorado. Moffat County is Class 4A.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 3-3.

Moffat County senior Derek Duran led all scorers with 23 points. Senior Kevin Loughran was the second-leading scorer for Moffat County, with 10 points. Bullinger finished the game with 16 points for Mountain View.

The Moffat County JV team lost to Mouuntain View, 51-43.

Both teams play Riverton, Wyo., at 3:45 p.m. today. Riverton defeated Kremmerer, Wyo., 69-63 in overtime Thursday.

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