Moffat County boys stave off Aspen rally | CraigDailyPress.com

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Moffat County boys stave off Aspen rally

Boys scoring vs. Aspen

Kort Hathhorn 28

Tyler Davis 9

Javen Gumber 9

Matt Hamilton 8

Joe Camilletti 4

Denton Taylor 2

Taft Cleverly 1

— After being deafening all evening, the Moffat County High School gym was silent for a few seconds Tuesday as it watched Aspen forward Clayton Crawford's halfcourt shot travel toward the hoop.

The ball was on a good line to go in but bounced off the back of the rim and fell to the court, giving the crowd plenty of reason to get loud again. In an excellent 3A Western Slope League showdown, the Moffat County boys survived a tough Skiers team, 61-59.

The win gives each team one loss in the WSL, with Aspen (13-3, 12-1) still owning a couple of extra wins against the Bulldogs (12-2, 10-1) in the standings. But it moves Moffat County into a position to at least tie for the league title by winning out.

Kort Hathhorn was at his best Tuesday, scoring 28 points and making a key steal late that forced Aspen to try a shot from beyond half court to win the game.

A month ago in Aspen, the Skiers ran the Bulldogs out of the gym in the third quarter with a 17-0 run. This time, Moffat County looked to pull the same move, opening up a 43-30 advantage after being up by just one at halftime.

"We were focused on our defense, and it's just one of those times when everything is going your way," Hathhorn said. "All our steals were turning into layups, we got it into the post and guys were making good passes, so it was all working."

But the Bulldogs showed a tinge of vulnerability in the fourth quarter, and Aspen pounced. Moffat County turned the ball over on four straight possessions while the Skiers were able to chip away at the lead, making it a six-point game on a banked three by Crawford.

Coach Eric Hamilton said he thought the Bulldogs lost some of their aggression on offense after instruction from him.

"I told them to work it more, and I think they took it wrong a little bit," he said. "We wanted to just take more time off the clock on offense with that lead, but we lost some of our aggression, and then we had some key turnovers."

Aspen tied the game at 55 with just less than three minutes remaining and appeared to be getting everything it wanted on offense. The Bulldogs' poor defensive rebounding, which had been good the rest of the game, faltered in the fourth quarter, Hathhorn said.

But Moffat County made the plays it needed to in the final minutes. Joe Camilletti made a free throw, Tyler Davis drew an offensive foul and Hathhorn intercepted a pass while protecting a one-point lead with 10 seconds left.

"I knew all game he had been curling around the entire baseline and coming to that spot," the sophomore said about the play. "So I sat there and waited and the ball came. It's a big win for us. We've just got to keep it up."

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