Melissa Camilletti, a Moffat County High School senior, looks to pass Saturday against Palisade High School at MCHS. The MCHS girls varsity basketball team smothered Palisade’s offense, allowing only two points in the first half en route to a 58-12 victory.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Melissa Camilletti, a Moffat County High School senior, looks to pass Saturday against Palisade High School at MCHS. The MCHS girls varsity basketball team smothered Palisade’s offense, allowing only two points in the first half en route to a 58-12 victory.

MCHS girls breeze past Palisade in rivalry game tune-up

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MCHS Girls varsity basketball against Palisade

MCHS Girls varsity basketball against Palisade

MCHS Girls varsity basketball against Palisade

Results ...

Box score from the MCHS girls varsity basketball team’s game Saturday against Palisade High School:

(1st — 2nd — 3rd — 4th — final)

• Moffat County — 12 — 13 — 13 — 20 — 58

• Palisade — 0 — 2 — 4 — 6 — 12

MCHS leading scorers:

(Name — points)

• Annie Sadvar — 18

• Melissa Camilletti — 11

• Kylee Ellgen — 7

• Bailey Hellander — 6

The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team inbounded the ball with time ticking away late in the fourth quarter Saturday against Palisade High School.

The Bulldog starters were already on the bench with the game well in hand, but the younger players finding themselves in varsity action didn’t take the foot off the pedal.

Sophomore Kelly Knez took a pass just outside the 3-point arc with seconds remaining and squared her feet as she launched the ball.

Knez’s shot dropped — her only three points of the night — and her play told the story of the game in one shot.

The Bulldogs did what they wanted to offensively and smothered Palisade on defense en route to a 58-12 home court league win.

“We knew if we played fundamental defense we would do fine,” head coach Matt Ray said. “We handled their zone on offense by getting the ball inside, and when they moved to a man, we adjusted.

“We had a chance to play everyone and we did well, which is good for team morale.”

The Bulldogs (10-6 overall, 3-2 Western Slope League) jumped out to an early 10-0 start after a three-point play from senior Annie Sadvar.

Palisade failed to drop a bucket in the first quarter and didn’t score their first points of the game until 2 minutes remained in the first half.

Moffat County led 25-2 at the break.

“We knew they would not be able to handle pressure, so I told the girls to get in their grill and take away their dominant hand without reaching,” Ray said. “They were able to get about one or two dribbles, then they had nowhere to go and they really didn’t get many shots in the first half.”

Sadvar said the Bulldogs’ help-side defense made all the difference.

“We helped each other and had each others’ backs on defense,” she said. “We seemed to click more on defense in this game and when they did get a shot off, we were in their face.”

Senior Melissa Camilletti kept an up-tempo style of game going at the beginning of the third quarter with a quick lay-up and 3-pointer to extend the Bulldogs lead to 30-2.

Sadvar led the Bulldogs on offense, scoring 18 points. Melissa had 11 and junior Kylee Ellgen added seven.

Ray said the girls played patient offense and scored points from almost everywhere on the court.

“Against (Palisade’s) 2-3 zone, we didn’t force the ball, but were able to get it inside to Annie and Kori (Finneman),” he said. “If they took that away, we hit 3-pointers or Melissa would drive into the gaps. We ran the floor with control and didn’t throw the ball away.”

Palisade (4-10 overall, 1-4 WSL) didn’t go to the free throw line until midway into the fourth quarter.

After posting double-digit fouls in both halves Friday against Delta, Ray said the focus was on creating turnovers instead of forcing them.

“I told the girls to play defense with their feet and make (Palisade) turn the ball over on their own,” he said. “It would have helped them to get to the free throw line, so we just needed to find a way to stop them without fouls, and we did that.”

The Bulldogs host Steamboat Springs at 6 p.m. Tuesday at MCHS.

Ray said his players rarely have a let down against a rival like the Sailors, so he expects a hard-fought game.

“Against Steamboat, records don’t really matter,” he said. “We have to show up and play hard. It would make Steamboat’s year to beat us, and we can’t let that happen in our house.”

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