7th-grade team loses to ‘buzz saw’

David Pressgrove

The seventh-grade boys basketball team is no longer invincible.

On Sunday, in the second round of the bracketed portion of the Gold Crown Holiday Basketball Tournament in Den–ver, the seventh-graders lost to eventual tournament champion Cheyenne Mountain, 57-29.

“We ran into a buzz saw,” coach Jeff Knoche said. “Chey–enne Mountain was a very good team, and on that morning, they could have drop-kicked the ball and made it the way they were shooting.”

Cheyenne Mountain has been ranked in the top 20 nationally by the Amateur Athletic Union.

“(Cheyenne Mountain) hit 12 three-pointers and shot better than 70 percent,” Knoche said. “I scouted (Cheyenne Mountain) Saturday, and I thought that if we brought our B-plus game, we could compete with them. Then, they shot the lights out against us, and our A-minus game might not have worked.”

Cheyenne Mountain went on to win two more games for the title.

“They’re coach was complimentary of our kids,” Knoche said. “He said even when his team was up by 30, he didn’t feel secure.”

To get to bracket play, Moffat County won three games the previous weekend.

“I was curious how good we really were after those wins,” Knoche said. “In some ways, the loss was good because it showed the guys we still had some work to do.”

The seventh-grade team ran the table in its middle school season and then added three wins in the pool portion of the holiday tournament before its first loss.

“Their effort was fantastic,” Knoche said. “It was a tough start because the referees didn’t give us any time to warm up, and it was 9 a.m. It took our guys all first half to warm up and wake up.”

Knoche also said several formal complaints were going to be filed because of the officiating. The Cheyenne Mountain team shot 27 free throws compared with Moffat’s two.

“I don’t want to complain about it because Cheyenne Mountain was a very good team,” Knoche said. “But the inconsistency from officials made it so each team had to play completely different. We couldn’t be physical, and they could.”

The AAU and the Moffat Basketball Association season starts for the boys after Christmas break. Knoche said his seventh-grade team was ready to go again as soon as the game against Cheyenne Mountain ended.

“Some of them said, ‘Let’s play (Cheyenne Mountain) right now again,'” Knoche said.

Sixth-, seventh- and eighth- grade teams will compete in the winter AAU and Gold Crown seasons.

“We’ll have eight to 10 tournaments,” Knoche said. “I’m excited to get some more time with these guys because with some work, they’ll be frightening. I think the other AAU coaches will do a good job with the other teams.”

The AAU season will conclude with the Bill Lawrence Classic in Craig in early spring.

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