Nate Waggenspack: Moffat County boys basketball will learn its lesson

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Nate Waggenspack

— This year’s Moffat County boys basketball team has a chance to do something special.

I watched nearly every one of their games last year, watched them run teams out of the gym, watched them suffer heartbreaking losses and watched them improve throughout the year.

As last season wore on, all I could think about was how good this program would be for years to come. It had all these sophomores starting and a couple of freshmen playing big minutes by the end of the season. “Holy cow, there could be some fun years of basketball coming in Craig,” the line of thinking went.

So as this season approached, I kept thinking about what the limit was for this team. Could they go undefeated up until the playoffs? Could they win districts? Could they make a state final? Could they win (gulp) state? None of it seemed out of the question.

Whoops.

For one half of basketball Thursday, Moffat County’s first half of the season, it came rushing back into focus how dangerous looking ahead can be in sports. The Bulldogs were dismantled by Golden High School, especially in a second quarter where they were outscored 28-12. They couldn’t grab a rebound, didn’t play much defense and turned the ball over.

I don’t know if the players had been thinking in a similar way I was, but they came out flat in that game and paid the price. Against good competition, just being talented won’t get you a win.

The silver lining: The Bulldogs mounted two comebacks in the game and dominated Golden at times in the second half. They lost the game by nine but showed they still could play basketball.

The silver-er lining: After the game, none of the players appeared worried. I spoke with Matt Hamilton, who knew they hadn’t played their best basketball. While it was an eyebrow-raising result, Hamilton didn’t seem overly concerned about it. His attitude (and that of his teammates) was to understand it and move on.

This is a team full of individually talented players who meshed well together last season. For one half, they didn’t look anything like their former selves. I’ll be surprised if that happens in one more half again this year.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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