Bittersweet end for Bulldogs

Results

Box score from the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team’s Saturday playoff game against Longmont High School:

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

Moffat County - 9 - 11 - 7 - 20 - 47

Longmont - 23 - 28 - 15 - 22 — 88

MCHS leading scorers:

(Name — points)

· Lauren Roberts — 15

· Nike Cleverly — 9

· Lisa Camilletti — 7

After the final buzzer sounded Saturday night and the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team headed for the bus, senior Nike Cleverly wiped a tear from her eye.

“All of us seniors started together and now we ended together,” Cleverly said. “It was a memorable four years.”

The Bulldogs couldn’t handle the quickness or size of No. 1 Longmont High School in the Sweet 16 round of the 4A state tournament, and their season came to an end with an 88-47 loss.

MCHS knew what to expect coming in to the game, Cleverly said, but put forth their best effort.

“We were determined to show (Longmont) how we play basketball,” she said. “This year, we set goals and we accomplished them all, so losing was a bittersweet moment.”

The Trojans (24-1) outscored the Bulldogs (17-8) 23-9 in the first quarter and led by 31 at half, 51-20, mainly due to Longmont’s two post players, who were listed at 6’5” and 6’1”.

The height advantage didn’t only prove difficult for the Bulldogs inside, but also gave the Trojans numerous second chances.

“(Longmont’s) post players weren’t just physical, they were quick, as well,” head coach Matt Ray said. “To have a chance to win this game, we needed to slow the game down, but we weren’t able to do that.”

Senior Lauren Roberts led the Bulldogs with 15 points and Cleverly had nine.

Despite the loss, Ray said his team never gave up, especially his five seniors — Cleverly, Roberts, Callie Papoulas, Britteny Ivers and Maddy Jourgensen.

“Longmont’s press rolled over us, but every girl battled and no one ever gave up,” he said. “The seniors got a lot of playing time, and that is great for their last game for Moffat County.”

Ray put in his five seniors for the entire third quarter and to close out the last four minutes of the game.

Jourgensen said her final season couldn’t have gone better.

“It was a very successful season and I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” she said. “All my teammates and all the coaches, everything was just perfect this year.”

Ivers said the Bulldogs’ transition game could have done more.

“We could have got back on defense in the transition game more, but they were quick,” she said. “I guess this game shows what a little Western Slope League team can do against a number one team.”

The five underclassmen to travel with the team — juniors Annie Sadvar and Melissa Camilletti, and sophomores Sassy Murray, Lisa Camilletti and Makayla Camilletti — all played to start the fourth quarter, giving a preview of next year’s team.

While Sadvar, Murray and Melissa received significant playing time this season, Lisa and Makayla will look to contribute for the Bulldogs next season.

Papoulas said she has no doubt the team will have a great season next year.

“It is really sad for (my career) to end because I grew up with the other seniors playing basketball,” she said. “Next year, the girls will do great and I will be proud to say I was part of this program.”

As Roberts walked out of the locker room and joined her fellow seniors, she said the tears weren’t for the loss.

“We are all crying because it is over,” she said. “We have played together since sixth grade and basketball was a huge part of our high school careers.”

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