Moffat County basketball sweeps Grand Valley in Friday night action
The Bulldogs swept the same opponent for the first time this season
Moffat County’s girls basketball team returned to action for the first time in six days Friday night and dominated the Grand Valley Cardinals from start to finish, taking a 24-4 first quarter lead and turning it into a dominant 66-48 win at Moffat County High School.
Against the Cardinals, Grand Valley sprinted out to a 24-1 lead before giving up a 3-pointer with six seconds left in the opening quarter, capping off a strong first eight minutes of action.
Despite the strong start, the Bulldogs came out much slower in the second quarter though as they only had two points in the first three minutes of the quarter.
Though the Buldlogs started slowly offensively in the second quarter, Moffat County was able to do enough offensively to take a 38-14 lead into the half, setting up a strong third quarter of play.
Moffat County continued the trend of playing well in the third quarter this season, coming out Friday night hitting their shots. Defensively though, the Bulldogs allowed the Cardinals to establish some offense in the third quarter, allowing Grand Valley to close the game strong, outscoring the Bulldogs 34-28 in the second half.
The Bulldogs were happy with their defense in this game, but some on the team said it would not be acceptable when the team travels to Gunnison Saturday for a 3A Western Slope League matchup with the Cowboys.
“Our goal for Gunnison is to hold them to zero (points). Coal Ridge held them to six, so we’re going to try to hold them to zero,” senior Emaleigh Papierski said. “That’s what our goal is, because if we’re going to drive five and a half hours, we’re going to make it a blowout.”
The fact that it was such a lopsided win was a surprise to some on the team however, including sophomore Lizzy Lewarne.
“Honestly, I didn’t just because last year they had a much closer game with Grand Valley,” Lewarne said. “But I’m glad that we did beat them by this much.”
The win improves their record to 6-3 (2-1 3A WSL) on the season. The Bulldogs were led by Papierski’s 18 points, which included four field goals from behind the 3-point line.
Bulldog boys win third game in a row
Looking to follow up the girls’ great performance with one of their own, the Moffat County Bulldogs’ boys basketball team battled through turnover issues throughout the night and relied on senior Wesley Counts’ offensive heroics to pick up a 50-43 win over the visiting Grand Valley Cardinals in 3A WSL action.
The Bulldogs found themselves locked in a tight battle in the first half, holding a narrow 21-19 lead.
The late second-quarter run was sparked by back-to-back steals and layups by junior Thayne Kitchen, giving the Bulldogs the lead with 20 seconds to go in the first half. That lead would be one the Bulldogs would not relinquish.
Coming out of the locker room, Counts stole the show offensively, pouring in 19 second-half points to lead the Bulldogs to a big league win.
Counts turned it on in a third quarter against the Cardinals, pouring in eight points to help Moffat County stretch its lead to 36-28 heading into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth, Counts kept up the offensive dominance, pouring in another 11 points, helping the Bulldogs hold off a late Grand Valley rally to pick up the 7-point win.
The senior finished with a game-high 23 points for Moffat County.
Though the Bulldogs won their third game in a row, the team turned the ball over 21 times in this game — including 13 in the first half — which is something that head coach Steve Maneotis boiled down to focus and confidence.
“Million dollar question. They gotta play with confidence, all week long. We work on this all week long; we talk about this. We come to a game and we’re not focused, so I’m going to talk more about mental preparation coming into the game. We had a poor practice last night before the game; no focus,” Maneotis said. “So, to me, it’s about focus and pride now; it’s not about fundamentals.”
Aside from the ball security issues, Moffat County had a strong night on the glass, grabbing 28 rebounds in the win.
The team doesn’t have a lot of time off as they make the trip to Gunnison Saturday for a 3:00 p.m.tip-off. Kitchen thinks the team will be well prepared for the long trip and the quick turnaround.
“It’s nothing new,” Kitchen said. “We’ve all played AAU and played multiple games in a day, so we just gotta lock in.”
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