Bulldogs cut down Evergreen | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs cut down Evergreen

Moffat County High School defense too much for Cougars

John Vandelinder

JV team sweeps during weekend

The Bulldog junior varsity girls basketball team followed in the varsity team's footsteps this weekend, dispatching visiting Fruita, 45-28, on Friday and running by Evergreen, 57-28, on Saturday.

JV coach Matt Ray said the key to the team's successful weekend was the team being calm and in control.

"We came out the first game pretty nervous," he said. "After we calmed down, we took control."

Moffat County never trailed against Fruita, and Stephanie Long and Kylie Bowman each scored 14 points.

Courtney Edington dropped in 22 points in the contest against Evergreen to lead the Bulldogs, while Danette Crofts pitched in with 12.

"We pressured their guards really well," Ray said of the game against Evergreen. "Edington hit some big shots, and the whole team played well."

— The Evergreen High School girls basketball team visited Moffat County on Saturday, in what each head coach thought could possibly be a preview of a game in the season-ending state tournament.

Both teams had visions of grandeur heading into the contest, scheduling the game in an effort to see how well they would match-up with a tough, non-league opponent.

Cougars coach Ali Johnston scheduled fifth-ranked Moffat County as one of the several ranked teams her team will play during the preseason in an effort to build the team’s strength of schedule come state tournament seeding time.

Moffat County head coach Craig Mortensen agreed to play the tenth-ranked Evergreen squad in an attempt to play what he calls “a team stronger than any we will see in our conference.”

Somebody had to lose.

Moffat County (4-1 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League) prevailed against the younger Evergreen team (4-3 overall, 0-0 Jefferson County League) 63-38, in a contest of two of the top-ten teams in the state.

“It was a tough game for us,” Johnston said. “We couldn’t handle their press defense. We worked on it in practice, but their guards are much quicker in person.”

Seniors Angie Charchalis and Markie Workman led the Bulldogs’ attack.

Charchalis finished with 13 points, 12 assists and nine steals, while Workman pitched in with a double-double, tallying 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Behind what has become Moffat County’s staple on defense early in the season, the Bulldogs executed the full-court press defense, forcing a flurry of Evergreen turnovers to start the contest. The Cougar’s early miscues allowed Moffat County to jump out to a 19-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We like to apply the pressure from the start,” Charchalis said. “We go with what works and it has been working, so why not?”

The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 18 points at halftime and to 25 at the end of the third quarter. Mortensen emptied his bench for most of the remainder of the game.

Johnston said Evergreen utilized a strong post game, leading to its previous four victories heading into the game, but the Cougars had troubles getting the ball to 6-foot-4-inch Tricia Oakes.

“The presence of a 6-footer in the middle makes a difference,” Mortensen said. “But, our defense took them out of their offense.”

Moffat County had troubles scoring in the paint against the defense of Oakes, but the offense adjusted, draining eight 3-pointers to account for one-third of the team’s 24 total shots.

“We didn’t get as many easy baskets as we’d like,” Mortensen said. “But, we worked the ball in and out well and hit some threes.”

Workman finished with four assists, hitting the open player after getting the ball down low.

“Every time I got the ball, they would collapse their defense on me,” Workman said. “So, I just passed it to the open man, and they knocked down the shots.”

Moffat County is scheduled to leave Tuesday for Denver to compete in the four-day Grandview tournament.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com