MCHS boys basketball team’s second half struggles continue in loss to Palisade

Box score

Box score from the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s Saturday game against Palisade:

(Team – 1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th — final)

Palisade – 10 – 10 – 18 – 15 — 53

Moffat – 9 – 11 – 7 – 17 — 44

Leading scorers

MCHS leading scorers:

(Name — points)

• Angelo Raftopoulos — 15

• Zach Raftopoulos — 9

• Dylon Camilletti — 9

In Saturday’s 53-44 loss to Palisade, the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team showed that it was capable of playing at the same level as opponents.

The problem, however, was similar to Friday’s loss to Delta — a sluggish third quarter.

“Defense killed us in the third quarter,” said Angelo Raftopoulos, an MCHS senior who led the team with 15 points. “We had tough D all the first half, and then in the third quarter for just a couple of minutes we didn’t get the D going and they got a quick 10 points on us.”

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 2-18 overall and 1-9 in the Western Slope League. Palisade now stands at 9-12 overall and 5-5 in the WSL.

In the third quarter, Palisade guard Kane Gunther took advantage of his team’s defense to get easy transition baskets. He hit a 3-pointer and four field goals to finish with 11 points in the quarter. He finished the game with 25 points.

Offensively, MCHS found early success by getting the ball in the paint and getting points in the post. But in the third quarter, the team relied on unsuccessful mid- and long-range shot attempts, and was outscored 18-7.

“On offense, we just settled for bad shots,” Raftopoulos said. “Those shots will come, too, we just haven’t had too many shots fall for us this year.”

Before the third quarter, the two teams jostled for position.

Palisade opened the game with the first four points, but Colby Haddan and Zach Raftopoulos both hit shots to tie it at 4-4.

Palisade’s Cody Bond hit a shot to give his team the lead again.

Shortly after, MCHS pulled ahead on a 3-pointer by Dylon Camilletti, which was then matched by Gunther.

Palisade took a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter after a free throw by Caleb Hall.

The back-and-forth play continued in the second quarter, with MCHS hitting two free throws to tie it at the half at 20-20.

In the fourth quarter, MCHS returned to its strategy of working the ball in the post and was able to get within seven points with four minutes left.

But, for every shot MCHS hit, Palisade answered and the Bulldogs were never able to close tha gap.

Raftopoulos said his team knows it can play with others in the WSL, but is trying to learn out how to close out games.

“It doesn’t matter what night it is, anything can happen,” he said. “The other teams have finished games and we haven’t. It’s all about finishing games.”

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