The Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s comeback Friday night came too little, too late.
Trailing by 12 points to Eagle Valley High School at home, the Bulldogs fought back to pull within three points, but big free throws by the Devils sealed the victory for Eagle Valley, 53-45.
A 3-pointer by senior Dylon Camilletti followed by two lay ups from fellow senior Angelo Raftopoulos had the Bulldogs in position to win with the score 46-43.
Head coach David Bradshaw said his team had opportunities to tie or take the lead, but couldn’t get the shots to fall.
“In the fourth quarter, the guys really stepped up,” he said. “We had a couple of decent looks, but it didn’t happen.”
Eagle Valley (6-13 overall, 3-6 Western Slope League) used some jump shots early, but after the Bulldogs contained them, moved to lay ups.
“Defensively we had some breakdowns,” Bradshaw said. “We didn’t get rotations in time on the back side and (Eagle Valley) got some easy lay ups and easy dribble penetration.”
Camilletti, who scored 12 points for the Bulldogs, said the team came out strong in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.
“(Eagle Valley) had many second chance opportunities,” he said. “They controlled the offensive boards and got second looks that buried us early.”
Offensively, Camilletti his team improved on the patience.
“We moved the ball, but we weren’t able to get penetration,” he said. “We didn’t have trouble with their pressure defense, but we just couldn’t get things going early.”
Raftopoulos led the Bulldogs offense with 17 points.
In the two teams’ previous match-up on Jan. 14, the Eagle Valley pressure defense stifled the Bulldogs.
Bradshaw said he didn’t feel his team had a problem with the defense Friday.
“I think we handled the pressure and didn’t have a problem with it,” he said. “It was a non-issue tonight.”
The Bulldogs (2-15 overall, 1-6 WSL) went 6 for 15 from the free throw line, a stat Bradshaw said could have been the difference in the game.
In the first three quarters, Bradshaw said his team came out flat.
“For the first three quarters, we were flat and tentative,” he said. “We wanted to control the tempo, but we couldn’t get the ball inside.
“We moved the ball fine on the perimeter, but we didn’t get it into the high post.”
Moving forward into the team’s last five games, Camilletti said everyone needs to play with more confidence.
“Everyone is so down on themselves at this point,” he said. “We need to come out and know we can win and play 32 minutes of basketball to finish the season strong.”
The Bulldogs play at 2 p.m. today in Battle Mountain, the team’s lone WSL win, a 60-55 home victory on Jan. 15.
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