Craig Middle School eighth-grader Javen Gumber vaults above the rest of the Bulldogs and the opposing Colts to swish one through the hoop Tuesday against Rawlins, Wyo. The eighth-grade A-team lost, 64-58, following a 31-23 win by the B-team.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Craig Middle School eighth-grader Javen Gumber vaults above the rest of the Bulldogs and the opposing Colts to swish one through the hoop Tuesday against Rawlins, Wyo. The eighth-grade A-team lost, 64-58, following a 31-23 win by the B-team.

CMS hoops teams have mixed results against Rawlins

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Craig Middle School seventh-grader Eddie Smercina goes on the defensive against a player from Rawlins, Wyo., during his team’s Tuesday game with the Colts. The seventh-grade A-team won, 32-18, while the B-team lost, 18-12.

Results

The Craig Middle School boys basketball teams’ scores from Tuesday’s games against Rawlins, Wyo., at home:

Eighth-grade

(Team — score — season record)

• A-team — 64-58L — 4-2

• B-team — 31-23W — 2-2

Seventh-grade

• A-team — 32-18W — 6-0

• B-team — 18-12L — 3-1

The act of taming a team of wild, out-of-state horses held different results for each of the four Craig Middle School basketball squads in their most recent games.

The seventh- and eighth-graders each gained both a loss and a win Tuesday while hosting the Colts of Rawlins, Wyo.

The highest-scoring game and the biggest heartbreaker of the day belonged to the eighth-grade A-team, suffering a 64-58 letdown.

The Bulldogs trailed by a mere three points with a score of 24-21 at halftime, but Rawlins dominated the court throughout the third quarter, putting them ahead of CMS, 46-29.

Watching his team’s defense falter was too much for Coach Drew Morris to handle as he called a timeout before the start of the fourth.

“Come on, guys, show some heart,” he said to his huddled players. “You’re better than this.”

With a renewed vigor, the team started the final quarter with an immediate unanswered 10 points — a triumvirate of two-pointers by Kort Hatthorn, two foul shots by Kody Fief and a smooth, skillful layup by Dylan Kincade.

Likewise, Ben Robinson showed some fancy footwork while tower-of-power Javen Gumber took control beneath the hoop as the potential for a comeback grew and grew.

With 2 minutes left, the Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 54-52.

But, as the game came to a close, the tightened-up defense crumbled as the Colts jumped too far ahead to overtake. An overabundance of fouls by CMS players allowed Rawlins to drive up the score with free throws.

“That happens that way sometimes, but I’d rather they play aggressive and get fouls than just not play aggressive,” Morris said.

Morris said the team’s knack for playing its hardest in the latter portion of games is due to sizing up opponents in the first half, something they employed slowly but surely against the Colts.

“They just realize that they can play with these guys, but they just need to step it up,” he said. “We need to figure out how to put that on the court for four quarters.”

Kincade said a weakness in one offensive element was glaring.

“We really need to work on our passing,” he said. “We were making too many long passes.”

The A-team’s loss puts its record at 4-2. The eighth-grade B-team evened its record to 2-2 after a 31-23 win against Rawlins.

“It was kind of hard at first, but I think we pulled it together,” B-team player Hunter Roberts said. “It felt good to win after we lost in Rangely.”

The results were the opposite for the seventh-grade teams as one loss led to a win.

Though the B-team experienced its first loss with an 18-12 upset putting the record at 3-1, the A-team took charge right away in its victory, leading at the end of the first quarter, 17-6.

Eddie Smercina, Bronc Hellander and Keenan Hildebrandt led the charge, which culminated in a 32-18 win, leaving the team undefeated at 6-0.

“I think we really got some good passes, good shots, everything,” Hildebrandt said. “They came back (in the second half), and they were a little bit harder to stop, but I think we did great.”

Coach Justin Folley said he was pleased with the full spectrum of his team’s play, particularly when they didn’t have the ball.

“Our defense really stepped up big time,” he said. “Rawlins is a very good offensive team. They like running the ball so we started with a press. We did a great job getting guys in, they knew exactly what was going on and stepped up.”

The teams travel today to Oak Creek and Saturday to Meeker.

“I’d still like to work on more defense for the weekend,” Folley said. “We haven’t really heard anything about Soroco, but Meeker usually has some kids who can move and if they can move, we’ve got to stay in front of them.”

Morris said he is expecting both Soroco and Meeker to be tough.

“As long as we come to play, I think we’ll be fine,” he said.

For the players, certain games offer more in way of settling old scores.

“Meeker beat us all the time last year, so I want to play them again,” Kincade said. “I think we can definitely beat them this time.”

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