Inside-out |


Bulldog boys use inside game to gain lead, outside game to seal 81-60 win

Jerry Raehal

Logic dictates it’s easier to score closer to the basketball hoop than it is from far away.

And if logic doesn’t work for you, just take a look at Friday night’s game between home standing Moffat County High School and Battle Mountain High School in Western Slope boys basketball play.

The vast majority of Moffat County’s points came inside the paint, leading to an 81-60 win against the Huskies.

The Bulldogs passed their way inside either through post passing or through back door screens, with J.T. Haddan, who scored a team high 17 points, on the receiving end of several assists.

“We like to get inside first and that opens up our outside shots,” the 6-foot-2 MCHS junior said. “We just executed well.”

Bulldog coach Scott Parker agreed.

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“We have a bunch of big strong kids inside and we like to start our offense inside out, whether we get there with the post pass or dribble penetration,” he said. “We feel that if we don’t get those points in the paint, it will give us better 3-point looks and better rebounding positions.”

And while the inside game built the Bulldogs’ early lead, in the end it was the long-range game that sealed MCHS’s victory.

Battle Mountain had battled back from a 26-point deficit in the third quarter, largely off the play of guard Zach Anderson, who scored 18 of his 20 points in the final 16 minutes — including the Huskies’ first seven points in the fourth quarter.

With 3:52 left in the game, Battle Mountain had pulled within 13, 67-54.

Bulldog sophomore Collin Jackson then nailed two 3-pointers and drove for a layup on three consecutive possessions, boosting Moffat County’s edge, 75-55.

“It’s our pattern,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue. “Some-times we start off really well and then we falter. Sometimes we start off slow and then we pick it up. We had it down to 13 points, and then Moffat County comes out and bangs down two 3s and took us right back out of it. We fought hard that third quarter and most of the fourth … We just can’t get 32 minutes together.”

Neither team was crisp in the first quarter as Battle Mountain turned the ball over on four of its first six possession. Moffat County struggled to capitalize, missing on three fast break opportunities in the first three minutes of the game.

The Bulldogs began correcting their mistakes when Evan Hertzog hit Haddan for layup to give MCHS an 8-5 advantage.

The Bulldogs’ next eight points came from inside.

A 3-pointer at the buzzer from Huskies guard TJ Simpson brought Moffat County’s lead to single digits, 16-8.

“We came out and really executed defensively in that first quarter and kind of set the tone,” Parker said. “When we play defense and board like we did that first quarter, the best part of our game is our transition game and we’re able to get into that.”

Jackson opened the second frame for the Bulldogs with a silky smooth jumper from the baseline, followed by layup after guard Mike Peters, who at 5-foot-8 registered two blocks in the game — hit him next to the basket off a no look pass.

After Battle Mountain’s Ashlin Romero put back an offensive board, followed by a 3-pointer on the next possession, the Huskies pulled within five, 22-17.

A straight-away 3-pointer from Bulldog guard Clark Cleverly sparked an 18-3 run, in which Hertzog scored Moffat County’s last seven points off two driving layups and a 3 pointer.

It is the second straight win for the Bulldogs, who improve to 4-8 overall and 2-3 in Western Slope play. The Huskies dropped to 0-14, 0-6.

The Bulldogs visit Eagle Valley High today for a 5:30 p.m. contest.

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