Craig With the goal of an undefeated season washed away Thursday night in Baggs, Wyo., the Craig Middle School boys basketball team sought a bit of redemption Friday against visiting South Routt County.
Especially post player Tyler Hildebrandt.
Hildebrandt was limited to one point Thursday because of foul trouble, but the eighth-grader rebounded - literally - with ferocity Friday.
Hildebrandt scored 28 points and hauled in 15 rebounds against the visiting Rams, teaming with guard Paul Laliberte (23 points, seven assists) to dispatch Soroco, 55-36.
"Well, I was embarrassed by my last game, and I just wanted to come out and play harder," Hildebrandt said. "We were hungry for the W."
They got it.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 9-4 lead at the end of the first quarter behind a Laliberte steal and subsequent bucket and six points in the paint by Hildebrandt.
The duo would prove to be a force the Rams couldn't handle.
Laliberte's nine second-quarter points - along with five from Hildebrandt, pushed the lead to 12 at the half.
The inside-outside tandem combined for 15 more in the third and 13 in the fourth, as the Bulldogs lead ballooned to 21 with three minutes left in the contest.
The Rams (6-3) went on an 8-0 run, but the lead proved to be insurmountable.
"We came out stronger in the second half, but we fell behind early, and that's the way it goes sometimes," Soroco coach Jake Eskridge said. "My kids battled though. We were down 20 and they were still aggressive and fought hard."
Hildebrandt finished the game with another impressive statistic. Shooting under 20 percent on the season from the free throw line, Hildebrandt went 6-7 from the line Friday.
"I've been practicing," he said. "I knew I had to get more arch on my shot, and it really helped."
The Bulldogs play their third game in as many days this today, when the team travels to face Meeker at 9 a.m.
That doesn't leave much time for the team to celebrate getting back in the win column.
"We just had to go back to the basics and slow the game up," CMS coach Davis Grabowski said. "When we work the ball inside outside like we try to do and play together, we can run with the best of them.
"I think this was our best game to date."
CMS 21, Soroco 18
The Bulldogs defeated the Rams in seventh grade basketball action Friday, pushing aside the Rams, 21-18.
Curtis Dunlap led CMS with six points, Dalton Kendall tallied five, Taft Cleverly four and Thorin Jackson and Colten Yoast each pitched in with three.
The Rams were led by the 12 points scored by Matt Regan. Taylor Lipsie tallied four and Ridgelee Gingerich had two.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org