Bulldogs drop tourney opener to Eagles | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs drop tourney opener to Eagles

John Vandelinder

— Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball coach Steve Maneotis has a new nemesis.

Last week it was the full court press. This week it’s the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs dropped their tournament opener in Pueblo on Thursday night, 64-48 to Pueblo East – in familiar fashion.

One game after letting a fourth quarter lead slip to Montrose, the Bulldogs suffered the same fate against the No. 5 team in the state.

Pueblo East (4-0 overall, 0-0 South Central League – 4A, No. 5 Denver Post) outscored Moffat County (2-3 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League – 4A) 21-10 in the final frame, pulling away for a 16-point victory.

“We have to learn how to finish,” Maneotis said. “We have to learn how to win. But, hey, that’s why we’re here.

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“We’re here to learn how to finish a ballgame.”

Trailing, 49-44, less than two minutes into the fourth, the Bulldogs were outscored 15-4 the rest of the way.

“We have to get better on the defensive boards,” Maneotis said. “It seemed like we were standing around flat-footed sometimes, and Pueblo would get five or six chances each time they missed.”

Moffat County wasn’t missing much in the game’s onset.

Playing a state-ranked team for the third time in their past four games, the Bulldogs jumped out to a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter and trailed by one at the halftime break.

Senior Chayton Owens led the Bulldog attack, tallying 30 points – more than half his team’s total – aided by a 12-14 night from the free throw line.

Despite the loss, Maneotis said he hopes his team can pick up a thing or two.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said about the tough non-conference tournament schedule the Bulldogs are in the midst of. “We came to play quality teams and see what we need to do to beat those quality teams. The kids are disappointed, but if that’s the No. 5 team in the state of Colorado right now, I’m excited about our growth and our opportunities.”

The next opportunity for the Bulldogs comes quick.

Moffat County faces Lewis-Palmer (2-1 overall, 0-0 Colorado Springs Metro League) at 6 p.m. today.

Notes:

Moffat County’s listed student enrollment is 760, Pueblo East’s is 1,379 and Lewis-Palmer’s is 1,950. Each is a 4A school.

Game statistics

Score by quarter:

MCHS (2-3): 17(1), 11(2), 10(3), 10(4), 48(total)

PEHS (4-0): 15(1), 14(2), 14(3), 21(4), 64(total)