Results from the Craig Middle School boys basketball teams’ games Thursday and Saturday at home:
(Date — opponent — score)
• Thursday — Meeker — 38-20W
• Saturday — Rangely — 52-27W
— Season record: 8-2
• Saturday — Rangely — 25-19L
— Season record: 2-3
• Thursday — Meeker — 47-8W
• Saturday — Rangely — 34-7W
— Season record: 10-0
• Thursday — Meeker — 26-21W
• Saturday — Rangely — 36-16W
— Season record: 6-1
After a set of games out of town, a team might need some adjustment coming back to home turf.
But, that was not the case with the boys of Craig Middle School basketball.
The CMS seventh- and eighth-grade teams played fiercely against incoming teams from Meeker and Rangely on Thursday and Saturday. Having played Meeker in their most recent game on Nov. 12, the Bulldogs were ready to repeat past victories.
With the Cowboys’ diminished roster, only A-team played on behalf of the eighth-grade, though coach Drew Morris changed up his own lineup.
“We got some new players in, different shots, different scenarios,” he said. “I think it gave some of them a chance to get on the court. They played a lot better man-to-man defense.”
With CMS leading, 20-6, at halftime, the outlook was good. But, Meeker started to change the tone afterward, outscoring the Bulldogs in the third to bring the score to a closer 27-18.
“I feel like we had a letdown in the third quarter and didn’t rebound as well, but it didn’t hurt us too much,” Morris said.
A three-point swish by Kody Fief at the third-quarter buzzer signaled a new reinvigoration for the team, as they went on to win, 38-20.
“We treated it like any other game, like we’d never met them before,” Fief said. “Last year, they beat us in every game we played them. I think we were stronger on defense. We did a lot better with that.”
The seventh-grade teams also repeated their wins, with B-team coming out on top, 26-21.
“Meeker did better than they did last time,” B-team player Isaac Montoya said. “They kind of started to play hard in the third quarter, but then we took back the lead and got at them.”
The A-team was much more of a blowout, as the Bulldogs won, 47-8.
“I think we did pretty good even though we didn’t have Bronc Hellander, one of our big guys,” A-team player Riley Allen said. “I think they definitely were wanting to win.”
Meeker’s determination resulted in several spills as players battled for the ball, with CMS’s Tyler Simon coming out of the game with a mild injury in his leg after being toppled over.
But, the Bulldogs gave as good as they got. Keenan Hildebrandt’s fervor beneath the hoop resulted in an accidental head butt against one Meeker player and an elbow to the face of another, causing a bloody nose.
“I don’t think he realizes how big and how strong he is,” Coach Justin Folley said. “I know he’s not doing it on purpose, but he definitely gets a little aggressive sometimes.”
Folley said his teams played just as hard with their previous games with Meeker.
“Once again, defense stepped up. If we keep playing defense like that, we’re going to win games,” he said. “We moved the ball around, looked for open shots and they took them.
“They played a little bit better defense, made us take some shots we didn’t want to.”
The Bulldogs repeated their success Saturday against Rangely, with the seventh-grade A-team winning 34-7 and B-team beating the Panthers, 36-16.
While eighth-grade B-team lost narrowly on Saturday, 25-19, A-team came out hard, winning 52-27.
Morris said the results of the games gives him confidence for how his teams will fare in the season finale.
“I think we should have a got shot of taking the district championship if we play well,” he said. “It should be easily within our grasp, but we have to play a full game to get there. We’ll take it a game at a time.”
Before taking on the tournament, the Bulldogs will have a respite during the Thanksgiving holiday before their next game on Nov. 29.
“I think they’re going to deserve the time off,” Folley said. “We’ve been working hard, and I think that nice little vacation’s going to help.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.