Andy Browning, a Moffat County High School senior, elevates over an Aspen High School defender Tuesday at MCHS. The MCHS boys varsity basketball team got out to a fast start, but couldn’t make the correct adjustments in the second half in a 66-46 loss.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Andy Browning, a Moffat County High School senior, elevates over an Aspen High School defender Tuesday at MCHS. The MCHS boys varsity basketball team got out to a fast start, but couldn’t make the correct adjustments in the second half in a 66-46 loss.

Bulldogs can’t adjust against Aspen in 66-46 home loss

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MCHS boys basketball vs. Aspen

MCHS boys basketball vs. Aspen at home on Jan. 10, 2012

MCHS boys basketball vs. Aspen at home on Jan. 10, 2012

Results ...

Box score from the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s game Tuesday against Aspen High School

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

• Moffat County — 14 — 13 — 10 — 9 — 46

• Aspen — 21 — 12 — 14 — 19 — 66

MCHS leading scorers:

(Name — points)

• Taft Cleverly — 9

• Andy Browning — 8

• Braeden Sullivan — 7

• Colby Haddan — 6

The Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team jumped out to an early 8-1 lead Tuesday at home against Aspen High School, but a timeout spoiled the Bulldogs home opener.

MCHS used fast break points and points off of turnovers in the first few minutes to force Aspen’s hand to call a timeout, but the Skiers made quick adjustments.

Aspen took a 14-12 lead after a 3-pointer and never relinquished the lead, as the Bulldogs fell 66-46.

“We played good in spurts and came out with an 8-1 run, but the timeout took something out of us,” MCHS senior Colby Haddan said. “All of sudden we were all down after coming out pumped up, and (Aspen) made good adjustments.”

Aspen used a 10-2 run to close the first quarter with a 21-14 lead heading into the second.

The Bulldogs (2-7 overall, 0-1 Western Slope League) trailed 33-22 before freshman Tyler Davis hit a 3-pointer and sophomore Taft Cleverly hit a lay-up to head into the break trailing 33-27.

Moffat County scored the first four points of the third quarter to pull within two, but Aspen hit another 3-pointer to stop the run.

“(Aspen) had so many weapons all over the floor,” Haddan said. “They did well under the net, could hit the 3-pointer and it was just hard for us to defend everyone. It is partly on us because we need to be able to provide help defense.”

Aspen (5-2 overall) led 47-37 after the third quarter, but took advantage of the Bulldogs’ full-court press to expand its lead in the fourth.

Head coach Eric Hamilton said the Bulldogs came out ready to play, but the Skiers’ adjustments slowed Moffat County’s offensive attack.

“We came out really excited and pushed the ball really hard inside and the guys were fired up,” he said. “Aspen made adjustments and scored three unanswered buckets, and you could feel the life go out of our team. The effort was there and we played hard, we just didn’t convert.”

Hamilton said Aspen padded their zone defense to take away the Bulldogs’ inside game and made them work the ball outside and score off of jump shots.

Haddan, however, said the jump shots weren’t falling.

“We ran the ball down the floor really well, we just forced some things,” he said. “We tried to force (the ball) inside and we caused ourselves turnovers that hurt us.”

Cleverly led the Bulldogs’ offensive attack with nine points.

Seniors Andy Browning and Braeden Sullivan had eight points and seven points, respectively, and Haddan contributed six points.

Haddan said the Bulldogs would have to work the ball more to find the open shot as the season progresses.

“We need to be able to reverse the ball faster and more times,” he said. “(Tuesday), we would reverse the ball maybe once and try to force it inside. That is not going to work.”

The Bulldogs play Grand Junction High School at 7 p.m. today in Grand Junction.

Hamilton said after Tuesday’s game, he told his players not to dwell on the loss and come out with a clear mind today.

“I told the guys to keep their heads up and keep moving forward,” he said. “Aspen and Grand Junction are games we need to use to improve so we can be ready for the rest of our league games.”

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