Bulldog boys fall twice in hoops contests

Two road games.

Two losses.

Other than the results, the weekend games couldn't have been more different for the Moffat County High School boys basketball team, according to coach Scott Parker.

Friday's loss to Palisade wasn't close, 80-57. Saturday, the Bulldogs (4-13 overall, 2-8 in Western Slope) fell in a "heartbreaker," as Parker called it, to Delta, 54-52.

Eli Buckner's rebound tip with .7 seconds left on the clock bounced off the back of the rim, then the front of the rim before it fell out, preserving Delta's come-from-behind victory.

"The kids bounced back from a tough one on Friday and played a tough one on Saturday. ... Things just didn't work out," Parker said. "The kids realized that they played hard and gave it their best shot."

Saturday's game was close throughout, as the Bulldogs held a 13-9 lead at the end of one, 21-19 at halftime, and 34-33 entering the fourth quarter.

With around 1:30 left in the game, the Bulldogs held a 7-point lead, which looked like it would become a 9-point edge after a bucket; however, Moffat County was called for a charge. Ditto for the Bulldogs' next possession.

The following Panther possession, Moffat County was called for blocking, helping Delta's comeback.

With 18 seconds on the clock and the score tied, Panther Michael Bear dribbled the length of the court. The Bulldogs stopped his dribble, but Bear "made a great pass" to Lane Varner, who hit a short-corner jumper, Parker said. "He made a tough shot.

"We played a hell of a good game on Saturday," Parker said, "and we're just going to keep fighting."

For the Bulldogs, Buckner scored 11 points and Evan Hertzog had 9. JT Haddan finished with 8 points and 13 rebounds, while Kaleb McKey added 4 points and nine rebounds.

McKey also played strong defense, Parker said.

"Michael Bear is averaging 19 points, and Kaleb Mackey did a great job of containing him, holding him to 9."

Other Bulldogs on the stat sheet include Clark Cleverly with 7 points; Mike Peters, 6; and Collin Jackson, 6.

For Delta, Varner finished with 16 points; Kevin Osborne, 9; and Eric Giron, 11.

Against Palisade Friday night, the Bulldogs fell behind early, 17-11, in the first quarter. In the second, Moffat County began to make a run, but Palisade hit three 3-pointers in a row.

"We never seemed to recover from that," Parker said. "When they made their run, we were not able to make a comeback."

At halftime, the Bulldogs were down 45-27, and at the end of three, 65-41.

For the Bulldogs, Buckner finished with 17 points; Peters, 12; Haddan, 9; Hertzog, 6; Cleverly, 4; Jackson, 3; Andrew Drake, 3; and Chayton Owens, 2.

Leading scorers for Palisade were Mark Douglass, who netted 22 points, Chris Williams, 19; and Kevin Collette, 10.

The Bulldogs host Steamboat Springs at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"That's a big rivalry game," Parker said. "We're going to prepare, go out there and play our hearts out."

Jerry Raehal can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 204, or at jraehal@craigdailypress.com

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