Craig Last season's first-round ouster in the boys 4A basketball playoffs didn't sit too well with coach Steve Maneotis.
So, he's been working the team all summer making sure the upcoming season isn't a duplicate of the last.
The Bulldogs competed in the Gold Crown boys basketball tournament Thursday through Saturday, the team's second tourney of the summer.
Unlike Moffat County High School's second-place finish June 5 to 7 at Niwot, the Bulldogs returned Saturday from Lakewood failing to place, finishing with a 1-6 record.
"There really isn't a lot to talk about," Maneotis said. "We had quite a few guys get injured, so it ended up being pretty disappointing. It was a tough weekend."
MCHS led off the tourney against Pueblo County High School, losing 44-32.
"We were basically just out of sync," Maneotis said. "We didn't have enough time in the gym. You can't just pick up where we left off a few weeks ago and expect to win."
The Bulldogs rebounded to defeat West Mesa High from New Mexico, 54-43.
"They were a big aggressive team," Maneotis said. "Everything was clicking for us. Everything that you need to happen happened for us."
The clicking stopped there.
MCHS lost Game 3 to Garden City, Neb., 54-48, in overtime.
More important than the score was the loss of starting senior point guard Mike Peters.
Tied at 42, with seven seconds remaining, Peters drove the lane and drew a foul.
Unfortunately, he drew an injury, as well.
Peters rolled his ankle, ending his tournament. Zach Raftopoulos took his place in the lineup.
Entering the game cold, Raftopoulos missed both free throws leading to the overtime defeat.
"He was cold and unfortunately he missed them both," Maneotis said. "That was tough."
Angelo Raftopoulos also sustained a tournament-ending injury during a junior varsity game Thursday afternoon.
Down two players entering Game 5 against Regis High School, Maneotis said injury and fatigue became a factor.
"At that point, we're basically down to playing JV at the varsity level," he said. "It gets tough when you don't have that experience on the floor."
The Bulldogs fell to the Raiders, 60-33.
"At that point, we had no rotation," Maneotis said. Regis "just dominated the game. They had a very good post player that basically shut down (Bulldogs center Chayton Owens). We only had six players actually play in that game."
The injury bug hit MCHS again in the Regis game.
Senior shooting guard Thomas Noble went down with a right knee injury, giving the Bulldogs an inexperienced back court for the remainder of the tournament.
Game 6 pitted MCHS against Arvada High School.
That is when Maneotis said, "the wheels came off."
The Bulldogs lost, 43-31.
"We were playing kids at that point that had never seen that kind of competitiveness," the coach said. "With that kind of intense action, we were just out of gas."
Running on fumes, the Bulldogs fell in its final game in overtime to Northglenn High.
"We had them on their heels, but they came back and bit us in overtime," Maneotis said. "I couldn't even tell you the score. You could just see the little pin put a hole in our balloon and the air was slowly coming out as the game went on."
Maneotis said he was happy with the play of the underclassman who traveled with the team, despite the losing record.
"We are finding the positives out of everything, even a showing like we just had," he said. "It gave the younger kids a chance to get a taste of my system and see the dedication that needs to go into a winning program.
"All in all, I'm proud of the effort put in by theses kids. They got a lot of exposure so they aren't awe struck once the season begins."
Junior Brian Ivy missed the trip due to an injury sustained during last week's summer football camp : Jordan Wilson missed the trip due to personal reasons : Maneotis said he won't know the extent of Peters' and Noble's injuries until the duo visits doctors this week : The Maneotis-led MANJOBO basketball clinic - originally scheduled to begin today - has been pushed back to the last week of July.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org