Charchalis takes charge

Moffat County girls win thriller, 43-41

Ask Angela Charchalis what the key to Friday night's 43-41 home victory against league rival Glenwood Springs (6-2) was, and the Moffat County High School (9-1) basketball player doesn't talk about her game-winning, driving lay-up with 3 seconds left on the clock.

She doesn't mention her drive to the lane -- which drew several Demon defenders to her -- and hitting teammate Desirae Pearcey for a lay-up to tie the game at 41-41 less than a minute earlier.

Her offensive rebound with less with than 21 seconds on the clock, allowing the Bulldogs one more shot at victory, doesn't cross her lips.

And this says nothing of her team-high 12 points, her defensive pressure, or that she never spent a minute on the bench.

No.

She mentions something else: The play of her teammates after the Bulldogs were down by seven with five minutes left in the game.

"We got a few mismatches on their defense, and they were scrambling and the other girls were making shots," she said.

Plays like Amy Dilldine's long jumper to pull the Bulldogs within four, and Jorgiea Raftopoulos' steal at half court, which she took in for a lay-up, bringing Moffat County within two points and 1:35 left on the clock.

And then there was Charchalis in the last minute making key plays, though she doesn't take credit.

"I was just trying not to lose my head and not let the time to get to me," she said.

And though she deflects attention, her coach Craig Mortensen perhaps summed the junior guard up best: "She's a gamer."

But like player, like coach -- or vice versa -- Mortensen also praised the other players.

"They're all gamers," he said, pointing Dilldine and Pearcey's big plays, as well as Ashleigh Mann's defense on Glenwood's Sharaya Selsor in the fourth quarter. Selsor had 15 points in the game, but was limited to two in the final frame.

More so than points and big plays, for the coach, defense was the key to victory.

After the Bulldogs allowed the Demons to score on back-door cuts, lay-up and 3-point shots, through three quarters, MCHS clamped down in the fourth.

With his team already applying solid half-court defense, Mortensen called a timeout with 3:03 in the game. After the break, the team's defense extended full court, causing a turnover on Glenwood's first possession.

"That really hasn't been a big part of our practices so far, because with our size and everything ... we haven't really been (caught in that situation)," he said. "We had to come out, push the tempo and put some pressure on them with our defense."

For Glenwood coach Brian Derby, his team's "lack of discipline" in the final three minutes was the difference.

"It was that fourth-quarter, non-discipline thing," he said. "We play three quarters, but we just can't seem to get through that fourth quarter. ... Whatever team would have won, it would have been the right choice. It was that hard fought of a ball game."

The first half of the game was tight, as neither team took more than a three-point lead. After one quarter, the Bulldogs led 10-9, and at halftime, the score was tied, 24-24.

Glenwood Spring's Katrina Selsor hit two 3-pointers to open the second half, sparking a Demon 14-7 run, before Moffat County's comeback.

Bulldog Markie Workman scored 10 points, eight in the first half, before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Mann scored seven points.

Offensively, the Bulldogs had several turnovers and had

a hard time getting into

their offense, and it is something

the coach said needs to improve, especially against teams

like today's road opponent, Rifle.

Going into the 4 p.m. contest, Mortensen already has part of his pre-game speech ready.

"I think that anybody can beat us," he said. "It's been a long time since we've lost a league game. It's been two or three years. We kind of have a complacent attitude. They just don't think anybody is going to come close to us and we have to believe that if we're not playing really well, that we can get beat.

"Rifle can beat us. We have to play 32 minutes."

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