Craig Middle School guard Paul Laliberte dribbles down the court Friday against visiting Steamboat Springs. The Bulldogs dispatched the Sailors, 30-25, to move to a perfect 4-0 on the season.

Photo by John Vandelinder

Craig Middle School guard Paul Laliberte dribbles down the court Friday against visiting Steamboat Springs. The Bulldogs dispatched the Sailors, 30-25, to move to a perfect 4-0 on the season.

Still perfect

CMS steals win with 10 points in final 3 minutes as it moves to 4-0

Game statistics

Score by quarter:

Team 1 2 3 4 Total

CMS (4-0) 3 7 8 12 30

SSMS (2-2) 10 4 8 3 25

Individual scoring

(shots made, free throws made/free throws attempted, total points)

CMS

Ahlmer 0 0-0 0, Chavez 2 0-0 5, Bocco 0 0-0 0, Stewart 1 0-0 2, Hildenbrandt 3 1-7 7, Buckley 1 0-2 2, Laliberte 4 1-2 10, Wyatt Oberwitte 1 2-4 4.

Totals 12 (2) 4-15 30.

SSMS

Bradshaw 3 0-0 8, Scott 0 0-0 0, Ditter 0 0-0 0, Yost 0 0-0 0, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Erspamer 0 0-0 0, Sounlowski 2 1-1 5, Custer 5 2-5 12.

Totals 10 (2) 3-6 25.

Three-point baskets

CMS 2 (Laliberte, Chavez). SSMS 2 (Bradshaw 2).

CJ Chavez knew it was just a matter of time.

With three minutes and 18 seconds remaining in Friday's basketball game against visiting Steamboat Springs, Chavez saw his opening.

Trailing the Sailors, 25-22, Chavez received a pass from teammate Paul Laliberte, took one look at the three-point line he stood behind, spotted up and drained the shot from downtown, tying the game.

"It felt good" when it left my hand, Chavez said. "I was just trying to do whatever I could to tie the game. I'm glad I took the shot, but I'm happier that it went in."

With a flick of his right wrist, Chavez took the wind out of the visitor's sails, igniting a come-from-behind 30-25 victory.

"He was knocking them down in warm-ups before the game," CMS coach David Grabowski said. "You've got to hand it to Paul (Laliberte), though, he played really well tonight."

Laliberte - the team's leading scorer - was quiet for most of the night, until breaking through the Steamboat defense in the fourth quarter.

The first three quarters were dominated by the low-post presence of Sailors big-man Ben Custer. Custer bullied his way to a team-high 12 points and constantly harassed Bulldog center Tyler Hildenbrandt with suffocating defense.

Craig Middle School (4-0) missed six of its seven first-quarter free throws, and the Bulldogs found themselves trailing by seven, 10-3, at the end of the first period.

CMS fought back in the second quarter behind a Laliberte 3-pointer and consecutive baskets by Garrett Stewart and Wyatt Oberwitte.

Despite the Bulldogs holding Steamboat to just four points in the quarter, the home team trailed, 14-10, entering halftime.

"We made some really good adjustments there early on," SSMS coach Mike Campbell said. "What we did worked, but they adjusted to what we adjusted to, and we started missing shots."

Trailing, 22-18, entering the final period, Laliberte found a gear no one else on the floor had, turning the game's momentum in a matter of minutes.

His steal and subsequent basket pulled the Bulldogs within two, and after a Custer free throw placed the deficit to three, Laliberte found Chavez for the game-tying three.

Two more Laliberte steals sealed the deal, and the eighth-grader ended the game shooting free throws for the victory.

The Bulldogs have a quick turnaround as the team is scheduled to compete in Rangely, starting at 9 a.m.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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