Zach Raftopoulos, a Moffat County High School junior, jumps past two Battle Mountain defenders during Saturday night’s game at the MCHS gym. The Huskies would go on to win the Western Slope League game, 73-63, giving MCHS a split for the home-opening weekend.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Zach Raftopoulos, a Moffat County High School junior, jumps past two Battle Mountain defenders during Saturday night’s game at the MCHS gym. The Huskies would go on to win the Western Slope League game, 73-63, giving MCHS a split for the home-opening weekend.

Boys basketball picks up win, loss during weekend

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Brian Ivy, an MCHS senior forward, jumps past Battle Mountain’s Miguel Copas, number 32, for two of his 11 points Saturday night. Ivy was one of four Bulldogs to score in double figures in the game.

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Brian Ivy bounces off a Battle Mountain defender. Ivy finished with a double-double — 11 points and 10 rebounds — but Battle Mountain was able to hold on to win, 73-63. MCHS is now 1-1 in Western Slope League play.

Box score

Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball vs. Battle Mountain

Team 1st quarter 2nd 3rd 4th Final

Battle Mountain 21 18 17 17 73

Moffat County 12 10 18 23 63

Down 39-22 at halftime, Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball coach Steve Maneotis decided to try something new.

Playing against Battle Mountain High School at home Saturday, the Bulldogs were having problems keeping up with the Huskies small-ball approach.

“I decided to take a chance because we didn’t have anything to lose, so we went small,” Maneotis said. “We had guards all on the floor.”

The result?

Moffat County fell, 73-63, but outscored the Huskies, 41-34, in the second half.

“It was a barn burner,” Maneotis said. “We just didn’t show up in the first half like we needed to.

“We knew this was going to be an upbeat, high-tempo, high-caliber offense, and they have some good athletes over there.”

Playing at home was all the motivation the Bulldogs needed to make it a tight game, Maneotis said.

“You always have to take pride when you’re playing in your house,” he said. “You want to take ownership of what happens here.”

A night after Moffat County’s upperclassmen led the way in a 65-64 victory against Eagle Valley, it was a freshman who kept the Bulldogs in the game.

Guard Paul Laliberte scored 13 points — all in the second half — to cut into Battle Mountain’s lead.

The young guard, who a season ago led the Craig Middle School eighth-grade team and this season had been playing most of his minutes for MCHS junior varsity team, saw his most significant varsity action Saturday night.

He didn’t disappoint, finishing the game as the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer.

Laliberte drained two three-pointers, five of six free throws and also scored on a break-away layup.

But in the end, the Bulldogs’ comeback wasn’t enough to overcome a big first-half deficit.

“We were timid in the first half against Battle Mountain’s zone,” he said. “We just weren’t getting good looks. We were settling for long threes and poor looks. We weren’t getting second-shot opportunities, and they were getting to the paint.”

For the Bulldogs (3-7 overall, 1-1 in the Western Slope League), Jordan Wilson continued his strong play at home with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Brian Ivy had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Dylon Camilletti had 10 points, and Dustin Carlson and Zach Raftopoulos each had four.

On Friday against Eagle Valley, Camilletti was an ace beyond the arc, notching six three-pointers on his way to 24 points.

“For Dylon, the threes weren’t falling for him like they were (Friday), but he worked hard,” Maneotis said. “He gave us a great effort.”

Other Bulldog guards were able to slow down the Huskies, Maneotis said.

“Zach, Dustin — all my guards — were difference-makers when we went to a full-court press and matched their speed,” he said. “I was proud of our effort in the second half.

“You just can’t go into halftime down by 17.”

Senior Parker Lathrop led Battle Mountain with 25 points, including an eight-for-nine performance at the free-throw line.

It was at the charity stripe where Battle Mountain had the biggest advantage, Maneotis said.

“They made 19 free throws, and we made eight,” he said. “They went to the line 25 times, and we went 15 times. Take the difference, that’s 11 points. That’s the margin of victory.”

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