Heartbreak

Comeback falls short in overtime

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Shawn Hansow wasn't going to let it happen again.

The Fruita Monument High School junior missed the front end of a one-and-one and two other free throws with less than a minute left to let Moffat County stay within two points.

With four seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs scored to send the game into overtime.

Hansow, who led all scorers with 30 points, hit two free throws and followed it up with a steal and a layup to put his Wildcats up by six points in overtime with 37 seconds left.

"The first (free throws), I was more focused on what would happen if I missed than if I made them," he said. "In overtime, I cleared my head and hit them."

The six-point lead would be too much for Moffat County to overcome as 5A Fruita picked up a 61-53 overtime win on the road.

For Moffat County, it was a tough loss, but not one that led to any locker slamming afterward.

"That was a tremendous comeback," coach Mike LeWarne said. "Coaches always say to never give up, but it was up to the kids to do it and I have to give them that. They never gave up."

The Bulldogs trailed by double digits in every quarter. In the first three quarters, they slowly chipped away at the lead. Fruita lead by 14 after the first quarter, 12 at halftime and 10 after the third.

It was the third consecutive time that Moffat County started out slow. In the past three games, the Bulldogs have averaged six points in the first quarter.

"It's a part of growing up for this team, and they need to come out ready to play better," LeWarne said. "We talked after the game how the last possession is just as important as the first. That final shot should have been for the win if we would have come out better."

The final shot in regulation was made with three seconds left by junior Jarrod Holmlund. Junior Derek Duran drove to the lane with eight seconds left and found Holmlund wide open underneath the basket.

The shot tied things at 48. It capped a quarter in which the Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats 16-6. It took all but one Bulldog player three quarters to find the touch on offense.

With a minute left in the third quarter, junior Zach Haddan hit a 3-pointer for his 15th point of the game. The rest of his team had a combined 15 points.

"Zach kept us in it," LeWarne said. "It was good to see him have a good night."

Haddan's 15 points were a career high.

"It was the first time this season I hit some shots," he said. "We're a young team, and we need the three of us who haven't had much varsity experience to step up more. I finally did some of that tonight."

One person with varsity experience for the Bulldogs is two-year starter Duran. In addition to his game-tying assist, he scored seven of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs missed their first four shots in overtime as Fruita went up by six with two minutes remaining.

The Wildcats hung in for the win without post-player Riar Geer for most of the second half. Geer, who will play football at the University of Colorado next year, was the team's leading scorer going into Tuesday. He only played three minutes in the second half because of foul trouble.

"We're used to playing without him down the stretch sometimes," Hansow said. "The guards have found a way to step up."

By stepping up, the Wildcats improved to 9-3, while the Bulldogs dropped to 4-4.

Moffat County hosts Delta on Friday and Palisade on Saturday.

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

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