Kort Hathhorn puts up a jumper from the foul line while a Gunnison defender closes out during the fourth quarter of their game Thursday in Craig. Moffat County prevailed 71-52 to advance to the district semifinals.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Kort Hathhorn puts up a jumper from the foul line while a Gunnison defender closes out during the fourth quarter of their game Thursday in Craig. Moffat County prevailed 71-52 to advance to the district semifinals.

Gumber huge as Moffat County boys basketball defeats Gunnison

Boys scoring vs. Gunnison

Javen Gumber, 21 points

Joe Camilletti, 15

Tyler Davis, 10

Tyler Hildebrandt, 6

Phillip Chadwick, 5

Matt Hamilton, 4

Kody Fief, 2

Wyatt Oberwitte, 2

Miguel Cruz, 1

— With the team at less than full strength, a Moffat County freshman stepped up and helped deliver a district playoffs win.

Javen Gumber, the freshman center for the Bulldogs, started and had his best game of the season, pouring in 21 points and controlling the paint on both ends of the court Thursday. As a result, Moffat County pulled away from Gunnison in the fourth quarter en route to a 71-52 win in Craig.

Gumber’s size was an advantage head coach Eric Hamilton felt he could exploit against Gunnison, and it paid off in a big way. Without point guard Taft Cleverly available, the Bulldogs consistently passed inside to Gumber, and he delivered.

“I was really nervous before the game when I found out I’d be starting,” Gumber said. “But I felt good. I got into a rhythm, my shots were falling.”

Gunnison came to play as well and was not going to let its season end without a fight. The Cowboys beat the Bulldogs’ press in the first quarter and finished the frame with a 17-15 lead. But Moffat County soon recaptured the lead and built on it all the way to the final horn.

“You’ve got to hand it to Gunnison, they came to play tonight,” Hamilton said. “I was very impressed with them.”

After Moffat County took a 30-26 lead into halftime, Gunnison couldn’t quite recover. Whenever the Cowboys put a couple consecutive baskets together, the Bulldogs had an answer. Most of the time, those answers came from Gumber or Joe Camilletti, who scored 15 points, 10 of them in the fourth quarter.

“The fourth quarter was pretty good I thought,” Gumber said. “We went into it up nine I think, finished ahead 19. That’s what you want.”

The win sent Moffat County into the district semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday in Palisade. The Bulldogs will play the winner of the game between Aspen and Cedaredge. Thursday’s win also guarantees the Bulldogs a spot in the regional tournament beginning next week.

“It’s very exciting to get our ticket to regionals,” Hamilton said. “But we’ve got a game plan for Aspen and we want to beat them.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow district tournament updates on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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