Bulldogs rally to beat Cougars
No one who was asked had seen anything like it. Neither head coach. No players. Not the radio announcers, and probably most fans.
But few will forget what they witnessed Friday night at Moffat County High School.
The Moffat County boys basketball team came back from as much as a 19-point deficit in the second half to defeat Evergreen, 73-71.
“I’ve never seen anything like that, and I told our guys that,” a shocked Evergreen coach Scott Haebe said. “Being up at halftime like that and losing … I don’t know.”
Evergreen went into halftime with a 45-27 lead. The Cougar’s suffocating perimeter defense caused 16 turnovers in the first half. Their spread, quick cut offense created open shot after open shot.
“In the first half we were a step behind on defense,” Moffat County coach Scott Parker said. “On offense we didn’t handle their pressure well.”
The first four minutes of the second half the Cougars kept their distance. Every time Moffat hit a basket Evergreen would answer back.
The Bulldogs went on a 12-5 run in the middle of the third quarter to cut the lead to 54-43 with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Sophomore JT Haddan scored five unanswered points for Moffat County to bring the Bulldogs within nine at the end of the third quarter.
Moffat carried the momentum into the fourth quarter. Senior Derek Duran made three free throws to pull the Bulldogs within four, 54-50.
Then the Bulldogs got hot.
Four more from Duran, a lay up and two free throws tied it with 6:50 remaining. Duran scored his ninth consecutive point with a short-range jumper and gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 56-54.
“I didn’t have a very good first half,” the senior guard said. “I had to make it up and once things started rolling it felt good.”
Evergreen’s Kevin Fay committed his fifth foul with 5:55 remaining and was then called for a technical foul because he pulled his jersey out of his shorts.
Moffat made all four free throws, and a bucket by Haddan made it 62-54.
Blake Suttom ended a 19-0 run for Moffat County with a free throw at 5:11.
“We missed six or seven layups and tons of free throws during that time,” Haebe said. “We gave it away.”
The Cougars weren’t done, and they came back to tie the game at 71 on a Tucker free throw with 30.7 seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs ran the clock down to 11.3 seconds and called a timeout.
They were without Duran, who fouled out with 4:02 left.
“It hurt not to be out there,” said the senior who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. “But I had complete confidence in those guys on the floor.”
Parker said he drew a play up to get the ball to senior Kevin Loughran on the far side. From there, it was up to what was open.
Loughran got the ball, and Haddan was open underneath. Haddan hit the shot with 1.9 seconds left to put his team up for good.
“It was the biggest shot I’ve ever hit,” he said. “Once we got rolling, it was awesome.”
Haddan had 20 points Friday night.
A half-court shot from Tucker was short, and the Bulldogs celebrated a crazy comeback with their fans.
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