The boys team will still be playing this weekend when regional tournaments kick off Friday. They received the 13-seed (out of 32) and will play No. 20 Classical Academy Friday at Brush High School. No. 4 Brush and No. 29 Basalt will be the other teams playing Friday, with the winners squaring off Saturday.
If Roaring Fork and Moffat County meet again this season in boys basketball, it’s a safe bet they’ll play a close game, but head coach Eric Hamilton will be hoping for a different result.
For the third time this season the Rams and Bulldogs battled for four quarters with Roaring Fork coming out on top. Although the 59-54 final score was the largest margin between the teams this season, Saturday’s game in Palisade might have been the closest.
The game had it all: back-and-forth play, three technical fouls, a fast pace and a unique ending.
Moffat County trailed for the second half but closed to within three when sophomore Tyler Davis attempted a shot to tie the game with 17 seconds remaining. His 3-pointer bounced high off the rim and then dropped in, to the shock of the crowd at the game. But the basket was waved off by the official, who had seen it hit a part of the hoop’s hanging apparatus. By rule, the shot had gone out of bounds and didn’t count.
Moffat County players and coaches didn’t think the shot hit the brace above but admitted they missed opportunities to tie or take the lead throughout the quarter.
“That’s the ref’s call, and if we executed on little things before, that (shot) wouldn’t have even mattered,” guard Taft Cleverly said.
Moffat County fell behind, 13-4, in a bad first quarter. Matt Hamilton and Tyler Hildebrandt were whistled for technical fouls in the first half, giving Roaring Fork free points at the foul line.
The Bulldogs were behind by three to seven points for the majority of the second half and never could get over the hump. They forced turnovers and got stops on defense but couldn’t find the big baskets to even the score.
“We couldn’t get a bucket to fall at the end,” Eric Hamilton said. “We missed layups and had a lot of steals; we just couldn’t convert.”
Hamilton was proud of his team’s never-say-die attitude in the second half but was disappointed by the mental mistakes that put them behind.
“It’s not like they gave up or anything. It just didn’t fall our way,” he said. “There’s some mental things that just sting a little bit that we’ve got to work on.”
Roaring Fork took the district title, but both teams will be playing next weekend in a regional game.
“There’s definitely a bright side” to this game, Cleverly said. “I think everyone’s thinking this made us tougher for next week and ready to go play a great game at regionals.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org