Box score from the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s game Saturday at Palisade High School:
(Team — 1st — 2nd — 3rd — 4th — final)
• Moffat County — 12 — 8 — 10 — 18 — 48
• Palisade — 18 — 16 — 2 — 32 — 68
MCHS leading scorers:
(Name — points)
• Tyler Hildebrandt — 10
• Joe Camilletti — 8
Eric Hamilton knew his first season as head coach of the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team would be a challenging learning experience.
Hamilton is the Bulldogs third head coach in the same number of seasons and he inherited a team with young talent.
So, despite falling 68-48 on Saturday in Palisade, Hamilton praised his players for their best game of the season.
“Palisade is dang tough and played physical and aggressive, but I thought it was our best game of the year,” Hamilton said. “We matched their intensity and played hard. Again, the score didn’t show how close we were and we just played very physical.”
The Bulldogs (5-15 overall, 2-8 Western Slope League) trailed 34-20 at halftime, but held one of the league’s highest scoring offenses to two points in the third quarter to pull within six.
However, like Friday in Delta, the Bulldogs’ opponent didn’t falter on free throws to close out the game.
“In the third quarter, we got after them defensively and outscored them 10-2,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t score a lot of points, but we were just super intense, aggressive and physical on defense.
“Our guys responded after a tough Friday game and really gutted it out (Saturday).”
Junior Tyler Hildebrandt scored 10 points to lead the Bulldogs and freshman Joe Camilletti scored eight.
Hamilton said Palisade (16-5 overall, 8-2 WSL) came at the Bulldogs with one of the best presses his team has seen all season.
“Palisade’s guards are quick, so it is extremely tough to get through their press,” he said. “But, I thought we did an excellent job of moving the ball and being successful against it. The guys did good things on the offensive side of the ball to keep it close for three quarters.”
In the end, Hamilton said roster size was the deciding factor in the game.
“I think our legs just went out on us in the fourth quarter,” he said. “(Palisade) was running four or five guys in at a time and were able to play with 12 guys while we only played with seven guys.
“It came down to numbers.”
The Bulldogs play Glenwood Springs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on senior night at MCHS in the first of the team’s final two games of the season.
Hamilton said his team may not have the wins, but each player has improved this season.
“I think we have improved each week and we keep getting better and better every game,” he said. “I think this last week will be huge for us and we could win both games. We want to finish out the season with some good performances.”
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