MCHS JV pulls away from Hayden in opener
While Moffat County High School sophomore Jared Lowther scored 13 points and dished eight assists in the Bulldog’s 59-41 opening win against the Hayden Tigers, his ingenuity during school may have been the play of the day.
“A friend of mine had a tie in his P.E. locker so I borrowed it,” said Lowther, who came to school without a tie a mandatory piece of clothing for the boys team on game day. “I lucked out because I wouldn’t have played if I didn’t wear a tie during school.”
Lowther and backcourt partner, freshman Derek Duran, combined for 26 points and their full court defense in the first quarter forced the Tigers to turn the ball over 12 times.
“Their pressure really threw us out of sink on offense,” said Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner. “Moffat County’s two guards did a good job of making us work to bring the ball up the court and in that first quarter, we barely got it across.”
Duran had four steals in the first three minutes that led to four easy layups. With the layups and a three-pointer, Duran scored all but four points for MCHS in the first quarter as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 15-6 lead.
The freshmen point guard’s aggressiveness hurt him in the second quarter as he picked up his third foul with 6:48 remaining. Without Duran pressuring, the Tigers made a run in the remainder of the quarter and with 30 seconds remaining, sophomore Chris Frentress hit a runner in the lane to bring his team within 10 points at halftime, 30-20.
“Once we got settled in our offense in the second quarter, we made some good decisions,” Baumgartner said, as his team was only out-scored 15-14 in the second quarter. “We started to take care of the ball better and it kept us in the game.”
Hayden struck first in the second half when junior Dustin Driscoll hit a jump shot for two of his team-high 10 points to bring the Tigers within eight.
That was the closest the Tigers would get in the second half as Lowther took over in third quarter.
At the point guard position, Lowther watched for the Tigers to switch from a match-up zone to a regular zone and his recognition kept the Bulldogs in check on offense. While the Tigers only scored one less point in the third quarter than MCHS, it kept them from mounting a comeback.
“Jared switched from shooting guard to point guard after Derek got in foul trouble and did a really good job of reading the Hayden defense,” Moffat County coach Jeff Simon said of Lowther, who scored all 13 of his points when Duran was on the bench. “He sparked us right away and helped to keep them out of reach.”
Duran returned in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs break it open in the last two minutes with eight unanswered points.
“With limited height, we really have to take advantage of our speed on defense,” Simon said. “We played good defense tonight and that’s how we’ll win games.”
As for Baumgartner, his team saw what it needed to work on before its next game against Baggs, Wyo., Friday.
“We need to still focus on the little things,” he said. “Everything from holding onto the ball to rebounding, we just have to keep working hard.”
In the first game of the night, the Moffat County freshmen held off the Hayden JV, 33-30. Chance Buckner led the Bulldogs with nine points and freshmen Keenan Bruchez topped the Tigers with nine.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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