Brittany Walker drives to the basket against Basalt on Thursday at Moffat County High School. The junior played her most minutes of the season and finished with five points as the Bulldogs won, 56-26.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Brittany Walker drives to the basket against Basalt on Thursday at Moffat County High School. The junior played her most minutes of the season and finished with five points as the Bulldogs won, 56-26.

Moffat County girls beat Basalt, qualify for regionals

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Girls scoring vs. Basalt

Allie Ehlers, 12 points

Lisa Camilletti, 8

Kyleen Ellgen, 8

Makayla Camilletti, 7

Kori Finneman, 6

Sassy Murray, 5

Brittany Walker, 5

Tori Snyder, 4

Jazmine Swindler, 1

A slow start couldn’t keep the Moffat County High School girls basketball team down for long.

The Bulldogs played through a poor first quarter and came back strong in the final three, beating Basalt, 56-26, on Thursday to move on to the district semifinals. The win also guaranteed them a spot in the regional tournament next weekend.

The girls started the game a bit nervous and perhaps overconfident, head coach Matt Ray said. Having beaten Basalt with ease twice before, Ray said Moffat County’s defense wasn’t where it needed to be in the first quarter.

So the Longhorns played spoiler for eight minutes, taking a 14-8 lead after one quarter.

In the second quarter, defense was no longer an issue for the Bulldogs. They shut out Basalt in the frame, taking a 30-14 lead into halftime and never looking back.

“We played really good defense, really got on them and didn’t give space,” senior Kyleen Ellgen said. “That’s what we need to do for the playoffs, so we hope to keep it up.”

Ray said the intensity was kicked up several levels at that point, and it came from players off the bench.

“I found five girls who wanted to work hard, and it wasn’t even our starters,” he said. “But that’s a good situation to be in, when you can go to other players and get that (level of play).”

In the second half, the Bulldogs continued to extend their lead and got valuable playing time from the end of the bench. Ray was hoping for a comfortable win to conserve minutes for his starters with two more games to play in districts.

“The second half we really wanted to save the top seven,” he said. “Save their legs and keep them fresh for (Friday) and Saturday. And then you also get the other girls in, maybe building confidence playing at this level.”

The Moffat County bench did not disappoint. Junior Allie Ehlers led the team in scoring with 12 points and wreaked havoc on the offensive glass all game. It was also that unit that started forcing turnovers in the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach.

Moffat County will take on Roaring Fork at 3 p.m. today at Palisade High School. The Rams are the only team to beat Moffat County from the Western Slope League this season, but the Bulldogs were victorious in their most recent meeting.

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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