Craig Moffat County senior Markie Workman opened up Friday's contest against visiting Fruita, taking a shot that missed rim, net and backboard.
The ensuing inbounds pass by the Wildcats was picked off by Angie Charchalis, who calmly laid the ball into the basket igniting Moffat County to a 9-0 run from which Fruita could never recover.
The Bulldogs ran over the Wildcats from there, pulling away for a home-opening 76-39 victory.
Moffat County applied a pressure full-court defense from the onset, which resulted in the Wildcats going scoreless for the first 3:17.
"They really put the pressure on us," Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. "We just threw the ball away. You've got to hand it to them, it was a combination of their pressure and our sloppiness."
Moffat County (3-1 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League) led 20-5 at the end of the first quarter, 39-10 at the half and 61-29 at the end of the third.
"We have an experienced team," Moffat County coach Craig Mortensen said. "We have five really strong seniors that understand how to play this game."
The Wildcats (2-4 overall, 0-0 Southwestern League) had troubles defending the post, as seniors Workman and Desirae Pearcey combined to score 37 points. Workman accounted for 25, while Pearcey added five blocks.
"I've been playing in the post for a long time now," Workman said. "I have a lot of different moves I can go to when I need it, but defense is why we won this game."
Charchalis, a senior, was two steals shy of a triple-double, tallying 14 points, 10 assists and 8 steals.
"Defensively it was a really good game for us," Charchalis said. "We forced a lot of turnovers, which led to a lot of easy baskets."
Although the Bulldogs won by 37 points, Mortensen downplayed the notion of complacency.
"We always need to improve," he said. "We can't get comfortable after a win like this."
Schmalz took a different approach.
"This was great competition for us," he said. "It will help us get ready for league play."
Cami O'Brien led the Wildcats with 12 points, and Katie Lewis and Whitney King dropped in eight apiece.
"This kind of game makes us better in the long run," O'Brien said. "It will show us what to do in the future against that kind of pressure."
Moffat County has a quick turnaround. The Bulldogs host Evergreen at 2:30 p.m. today at Moffat County High School.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or email@example.com