At a glance
• MCHS boys basketball team finishes 16-9 overall, 11-3 in Western Slope League.
• Seniors Chayton Owens and Mike Peters named to WSL all-conference team; Thomas Noble and Kelton Wilbanks earn honorable mention.
• Wilbanks named to 4A all academic team; juniors Jordan Wilson and Brian Ivy honorable mention all academic.
• Owens a possible 4A all-state selection, coach said.
A year removed from a 10-12 overall record, the 2008-09 season marked a return to winning ways for the Moffat County High School boys basketball team.
The boys finished the season 16-9 overall and 11-3 in the Western Slope League, good for a third-place finish and an appearance in the state tournament's round of 32.
"I'm very proud of all of them," said Steve Maneotis, the boys second-year head coach. ": We graduate our entire starting five. The leadership they demonstrated was a tremendous compliment to the program."
The team had its season-ending banquet Wednesday at the Center of Craig. At the banquet, Maneotis honored 14 players with varsity letters, as well as two student managers.
He also handed out individual awards.
Senior center Chayton Owens, who led the team in scoring and rebounding with 19.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, was named to the WSL all-conference team. Senior point guard Mike Peters, 8.1 points and 5.3 assists per game, joined him on the all-conference team.
Senior guard Thomas Noble, who averaged 7.9 points per game and led the team in three-pointers (42), three-point percentage (31 percent) and free-throw percentage (83 percent), was named all-conference honorable mention.
Senior forward Kelton Wilbanks, who averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and who led the team with a 57 percent shooting percentage, also was all-conference honorable mention.
The postseason honors didn't end there for Wilbanks and maybe not for Owens, either.
Wilbanks was named 4A academic all state. Only players with at least a 3.6 grade point average were eligible for the academic team. Junior forwards Jordan Wilson and Brian Ivy were named honorable mention all-academic.
Maneotis said Owens' statistics and performance this season make him a good bet for the 4A all-state team.
MCHS' season came to an end Feb. 28 with a 69-56 loss to Golden.
In that game, the Bulldogs lost Owens early in the second quarter to a knee injury.
Still, weeks later, Maneotis remembers the game for the grit his team showed without its leading scorer and rebounder.
"We were more than just competitive," he said, adding that the contest was a six-point game or less eight times, and close in the fourth quarter before a trailing Moffat County had to start fouling.
This season's success is a testament to the program Maneotis has put in place since his hiring in 2007, following a season in which MCHS had just four wins, MCHS athletic director Matt Ray said.
"It really shows, from the first to second year, the way (Maneotis) has turned the program around," Ray said.
Maneotis said his goal is to build off this season's success next year.
"That's the challenge," Maneotis said. "The seniors raised the bar, and I fully expect we move it up next year. I expect the same from the group we have coming back."