Full roster boosts boys' hopes

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For the third time in 16 games, the Moffat County boys basketball team will have its full roster available Friday.

"We've had a lot of unforeseen problems," coach Scott Parker said. "For the first time this year, we'll have all of the seniors we expected."

The Bulldogs' seven seniors will be active against Palisade.

Injuries and suspensions have kept Moffat County from a consistent roster. The Bulldogs are hopeful that the inconsistencies also have been the reason for inconsistent play.

The Boys-in-Blue are 3-4 in league play and in fifth place behind Steamboat Springs (3-4), Palisade (4-3), Battle Mountain (6-1) and Glenwood Springs (7-0).

The second time around the league begins Friday.

One consistent factor for the Bulldogs has been senior Derek Duran's ability to score points.

Duran, the third-leading scorer in Class 4A, with 23.3 points a game, has averaged 27 points a game in league play.

"Derek is getting and converting a lot of good shots," Parker said. "We need to find another consistent scorer."

No other Bulldog is averaging double figures in the seven games of league play.

Although Duran's scoring has increased, the rest of the team's scoring has gone down.

Part of that could be attributed to the absence of senior Kevin Loughran.

He was the team's second-leading scorer for the team before league play. Loughran spent the past five games on the bench for violating team rules. Friday will be his first game back in two weeks.

"I feel like I need to make up for the mistake," he said. "I need to devote myself to doing whatever the team needs from me."

The Bulldogs were 2-3 in games that Loughran watched from the bench. He took that time to observe his team.

"There was a lot of selfish play," he said. "Guys were trying to do too much at the wrong time."

Parker said team defense is what he wants to see improve.

"When we didn't execute well on offense, it was because of poor defense," he said. "We need to get up and down the court better, and a lot of that comes from rebounding better and stopping teams on defense."

Moffat County returned four of five starters from last year's team. In the 2004-05 season the Bulldogs allowed WSL opponents to score more than 60 points twice in 14 games. This year, league opponents have scored more than 60 points in five of seven games.

Part of that is because the Bulldogs are scoring more points as well, but Parker is still waiting for his squad to gel on the defensive side.

"With injuries and other stuff, we haven't been able to have the same group of guys on the court," he said. "The chemistry hasn't been that good."

Parker and Loughran said the Bulldogs were a team capable of playing with anybody in the league the second time around.

"The league has been so up and down," Parker said. "I hope that some of those other teams have peaked and that we won't peak until the end of the season."

On Friday, the Bulldogs will attempt to avenge their first league loss of the season against Palisade. A win against the 4-3 Bulldogs will move them into a tie for third place in the league.

"If we can work together as a team, we can go 7-0," Loughran said. "We can play with all of those guys."

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