Moffat County basketball boasts big stats going into crucial games with Delta
January 31, 2019
Friday night may be the biggest games yet this season for Moffat County High School basketball teams.
MCHS hosts Delta, and the Panthers are sure to bring with them tight competition.
At 5-0, Delta boys remain the only team undefeated within 3A Western Slope League play, and though their overall record of 10-4 lags behind Coal Ridge and Gunnison, both 11-3, the Panthers have already taken down the Titans and are on pace to gain the conference title, with the Cowboys likely to be their greatest contender for the No. 1 spot.
Delta and Gunnison will face off on Valentine’s Day, but until then Moffat County can shake up the standings with an upset Friday night.
Though their 4-10 record is the inverse of their upcoming opponents, the statistics nonetheless show the two are highly comparable, based on statistics from MaxPreps.
Neither the Panthers nor Bulldogs rely heavily on one single player for scoring, and at 15th in the league in points, Delta’s Andrew Baier’s count of 111 is barely ahead of the Dogs’ Landen Najera (tied for 17th at 103) and Colby Beaver (20th at 100 even).
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Baier is also just ahead of Najera in rebounds, the two ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, at 86 and 81.
With Wesley Counts the league leader in free throw percentage at 84 percent, the Dogs will be missing one of their strong offensive players, but on the other side of the ball, Najera’s fourth-place status in blocks (12) is countered by Hunter Hughes’ proficiency in steals, tied for seventh (32).
The stakes are higher for the girls game.
Delta and Moffat County are each 5-0 among WSL teams, and though the 13-1 Panthers have only one loss to their name at this point, both teams are enjoying a lengthy win streak — eight straight for 11-3 Lady Dogs, nine for Delta — that will have to come to a close for one Friday night.
The numbers favor Moffat in most individual categories.
Halle Hamilton is second only to Grand Valley’s Shaya Chenoweth in total points 164 compared to Sara Geddes’ 153, ranked fourth for the Panthers.
In three-point shooting, Hamilton is ranked first even above Chenoweth with 21 outside buckets, teammate Kinlie Brennise close behind in fourth with 14. Conversely, none of Delta’s players have hit the minimum five 3’s to be ranked.
However, the Panthers’ shooting accuracy can’t be underestimated, with Erika Kuta, Geddes and Keely Porter ranked first, second and fourth in field goal percentage, including Kuta’s 75 percent.
Speaking of accuracy, Brennise is tied with Grand Valley’s Loghan Teter in free throw percentage at 74.
Defensively, the two teams are narrower, with Geddes and Hamilton sixth and seventh in steals for the league, at 38 and 34 apiece, while neither team is big in block numbers, Brennise tied for seventh in the WSL with seven and Kuta tied for 15th with four.
In a game where rebounds will be a difference-maker, Tiffany Hildebrandt’s 88 this season puts her at second in the conference, above Kuta in fourth with 84, but the two are each nearly even in offense/defense ratio when it comes to boards, showing they’ll fight for it on either end of the floor.
Though neither team can be guaranteed the league championship with certainty, Friday’s winner will no doubt be the one with the advantage in the final weeks of the regular season.
MCHS games start with junior varsity girls at 3 p.m., JV boys at 4:30, with varsity games at 6 and 7:30 at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane.