The best things come to those who wait. In the case of the Moffat County High School girls basketball team, the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs overcame a 13-5 first quarter deficit Friday night to defeat No. 8 Greeley West, 60-42.
MCHS improved to 22-2 while the Spartans saw their season come to an end with a 14-11 overall record and an appearance to the second-round of the 4A girls state playoffs.
With the host student section chanting, "Bulldogs," the blue-and-white clad namesake began the second quarter on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 13-12.
MCHS tightened up its defense in the second quarter, disrupting the Spartan offense and leading to a 21-9 advantage in the second frame. MCHS entered the locker room with a 26-22 advantage.
Tory Hanson, Greeley West's first-year coach, said his squad had MCHS "right where we wanted them" heading into halftime.
The Bulldogs battled through first-half foul trouble as they committed eight offenses to three Spartan fouls.
The two teams exchanged three-pointers to open the second half, and after a hoop from Greeley West junior Kari Ameling the Spartans were within three at 32-29.
But, the Bulldogs distanced themselves with a 16-3 scoring run to enter the final eight minutes of play with a 48-33 lead.
"The third quarter was our season in a nutshell," Hanson said. "I think it was similar to after we gave up the 13-5 lead. We lost focus down at the end and didn't have any patience for the perimeter shots."
The Spartans never cut the deficit under double digits in the fourth.
Greeley West 5-foot-9 junior Lauren Dusin converted a steal and basket to make it a 50-40 ballgame, but the Bulldogs went on a final 10-2 run to seal the deal.
MCHS coach Craig Morten-sen said he told his girls that in any game there will be highs and lows. He said his team did not overlook the Spartans.
"We needed a good game," Mortensen said. "This game helps us. Every game will get a little bit tougher from here on out."
Bulldog junior Markie Workman said she and her teammates played well after a slow start.
"I knew we needed to start playing," Workman said of the early 8-point deficit. "I knew it would be a tough game. They are a real aggressive team, but I felt good about how I connected with my team tonight."
MCHS 5-foot-6 junior Angela Charchalis led the Bulldogs with 20 points, and 6-foot-5 senior Cayla Maneotis contributed 17 to pace the victors.
As the Bulldogs appeared to have the game well within reach in the closing minutes, the Spartans could be seen hugging each other on the bench.
Despite the lopsided loss, Greeley West can take solace in knowing it will return all but two of its varsity roster for the 2007-08 campaign.
Hanson said Klarissa Harter and Amanda Schweers, who accounted for 13 of the team's total points, would leave a void.
"They are not only good players, but also great people," he said.
MCHS will host No. 5 Rifle at 7 p.m. next Friday. The Bulldogs swept the two-game series in the regular season and will be looking for a perfect 3-for-3 sweep in order to advance to the Sweet 16.
Greeley West --meling 13, Schweers 4, Dusin 8, Harter 9, Tellez 2, Wagy 6.
Moffat County --. Maneotis 3, Charchalis 20, Mann 2, Raftopoulos 7, Workman 11, C. Maneotis 17.
Greeley West 13 9 11 9 -- 42
Moffat County 5 21 22 12 -- 60