Boys pull away in second quarter
GREEN RIVER, WYO. — Derek Duran’s 16 points in the second quarter against Riverton, Wyo., couldn’t have come easier.
The Moffat County senior had made seven of his eight scores within four feet of the basket, and the Bulldogs pulled away from a one-point lead in the first quarter to a 40-26 lead at halftime Friday in the Flaming Gorge Classic.
In the second half, the Bulldogs and the Wolves basically exchanged baskets as the Bulldogs finished with a 73-62 win.
“My teammates got me the ball on the break a lot in the second quarter, and that led to easy baskets,” Duran said. “In the second half, we wanted to come out with a killer instinct, but I think we were comfortable with keeping the lead around 10.”
Moffat County entered the game with the goal to stop Riverton senior Sean Schaub. In the first half, Schaub had two points.
“We brought in Justin Kawcak, Evan Hertzog and Derek Ellgen to stay on their good guard,” coach Scott Parker said. “Those guys didn’t give him any good looks that first half.”
The Bulldogs never trailed in the game, but led only by 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Moffat’s transition game created opportunity after opportunity — mostly for Duran. The Bulldogs scored 28 points in the quarter.
“We were rebounding well on defense, and I would get out and they’d find me,” Duran said. “A lot of that came from our tough man-to-man defense that didn’t give (Riverton) any good looks.”
Moffat changed from a zone defense Thursday to a strict man-to-man defense Friday. Parker was happy with his team’s ability to adjust.
“We played some of our best defense of the season today,” Parker said. “(Thursday) we wanted to focus on stopping Mountain View’s big man, but today we just needed to get in their faces.”
In the second half, Riverton started to dump the ball inside more. The Wolves’ 6-foot-5 Nick Hopkins took advantage of the one-on-one coverage down low and scored nine of his 20 points in the third quarter. The Wolves broke the lead to single-digits at 44-36 with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the second quarter.
“They got it down to eight or nine once, but I never felt like we weren’t in control,” Duran said. “We just spread it out on offense and didn’t push it.”
Parker wasn’t too concerned with his team’s ability to put the game away.
“Good teams are going to make adjustments, and that’s what Riverton did,” he said. “Their big guy was open because of our perimeter defense, but we adjusted to that and kept the game out of reach.”
Schaub and Hopkins combined for 34 points. All but six of those points were in the second half.
Duran finished with 24. Senior Kevin Loughran scored the Bulldogs’ first six points and finished with 15 points. Senior Chance Buckner put in his first double-digit effort of the season with 12 points. Junior Evan Hertzog had eight points, and four other Bulldogs scored in the game.
Moffat County improved to 4-3 with the win. Today Moffat County faces Evanston, Wyo., at 3:30 p.m.
The Bulldog JV team lost to Riverton’s JV team, 67-46, earlier Friday.
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