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Boys can't shake shooting woes

This one hurt.

Losing on the road Friday night was one thing. But coming back home to play a team the Moffat County High School boys basketball team hadn't lost to in three years was supposed to be a confidence builder.

Instead, a 48-43 loss to Battle Mountain may have been one of the toughest losses coach Mike LeWarne has endured in his three years as head coach.

"It always hurts to let the home crowd down," he said. "We have more losses here this year than combined in my first two years."

The Saturday game started in a way that was similar to Friday's game.

The Bulldogs couldn't stop a player with No. 24 on his jersey. On Friday night, Cody Gerard scored 13 points in the first quarter for Eagle Valley. On Saturday, Connor Drumm, No. 24, hit two key 3-pointers in the first quarter when the Bulldogs were threatening to come back.

In both games, the Bulldogs struggled to score points in the first and fourth quarters.

On Saturday, Moffat scored seven points in the first quarter and eight in the fourth.

One difference from the two games is that the Bulldogs were able to keep it close Saturday.

After the Huskies led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs tied it up 18-18 on junior Justin Kawcak's jumper with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter.

The home team went into halftime trailing 26-23.

Moffat took its first lead, 33-32, with a layup from junior Jarrod Holmlund at 3:24 left in the third.

Then came a shooting drought for Moffat County.

The Bulldogs scored only four points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. The Huskies opened their lead to 44-39 with less than two minutes left.

The home team wasn't done in its attempt to come back. Junior Kevin Loughran scored unanswered four points with a jumper and two free throws to bring his team within one, 43-44, with 50 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs immediately fouled and a missed free throw by Derek Rush appeared to give Moffat a chance to take the lead but there was No. 24 again. Drumm, who led the Huskies with 14 points, grabbed the rebound and passed to Kyle Leffler. The point guard was fouled, and he made both of his free throws to put his team ahead by three.

LeWarne called a timeout with his team trailing 46-43 to set up a play with 24 seconds left.

Junior Derek Duran ran through two sets of picks and shot a 3-pointer on the right side.

It hit on the inside of the rim and bounced out.

"The play had several options and we didn't necessarily need a three," LeWarne said. "It just opened up and we took it."

The Bulldogs fouled and the clock ran out on them.

Duran's missed three was a common sight Saturday.

The Bulldogs put up 20 3-pointers, making five of them.

"We're taking too many outside shots," LeWarne said. "Last week they fell for us but this week they didn't, and we kept taking them."

It also is frustrating for guards to pass inside when inside shots from post players haven't been falling either. Loughran and Holmlund were 5-13 from the field. Loughran led the Bulldogs with 11 points.

"(Missing inside shots) has become a problem," LeWarne said. "We're not taking care of it in there."

If they can't hit outside and can't take care of it inside, where do they go to on offense?

"We need to make opposing defenses work more," LeWarne said. "We will work on looking inside first this week in practice."

The Bulldogs are 2-3 in the Western Slope League. The Huskies improved to 2-2 in the WSL.

This week won't be any easier for the offensively flat Bulldogs. They play Glenwood Springs and Rifle, both of which have winning records in the league.

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