Moffat County basketball has grand weekend vs. Grand Valley
Boys win, 82-64, lead Western Slope League; 2nd-place girls, 53-41, over Cardinals
The Moffat County High School boys and girls basketball teams swept the visiting Grand Valley Cardinals at every level in Saturday afternoon games that saw a win for the girls varsity squad, 53-41, and a 82-64 triumph for the boys.
Some circumstances looked to be against the Lady Bulldogs before game time. A 68-9 massacre of the Parachute team by the girls JV sent Moffat County second-stringer Alex Hamilton to the hospital in need of stitches with the team uncertain of her return for the varsity game. A roster mistake by MCHS gave Grand Valley an automatic technical foul to start, and though Kyra Chenoweth was unable to sink either of the throws, the Cardinals were up, 4-0, after a few moments of play.
However, this was the last time they would see the lead, as a 3-pointer by Leah Camilletti and a free throw by Mattie Jo Duzik tied it up, and Moffat County never looked back for the remainder of the game.
After a 13-9 first quarter, the Cardinals came back at their hardest, able to bring the difference to 17-16 with about three minutes left in the half, but the scoreboard still saw the home team on top, 24-18, at the half.
The third quarter was 14-9 in favor of the Bulldogs, but both teams began to give some wild passes, and emotions were running high on either side. Grand Valley had their best quarter, points-wise in the fourth, with 14, but Moffat County’s 15 was more than enough to finish it for the win.
In addition to Alex Hamilton’s emergency — she made it back to get some varsity court time — the absence of Josey King due to illness Friday night was a factor coach Sam McLeod thought might carry over into Saturday, but she was in good health, leading scoring with 16, four of which were from the line, the team as a whole going nine for 11.
Duzik put in 12 points, while Leah Camilletti’s two early threes helped kick off the team’s effort and gave her 11 for the day.
“It takes us awhile to get started, but I thought we played good team ball,” Leah said. “We were ready for it, so we came out strong, and we were prepared.”
McLeod said he would have liked to see his squad attack the basket more, but he had few major criticisms for how they played.
“We executed our defense pretty well and were able to neutralize,” he said. “We had a pretty good little run at the start of the third, and it was important for us to come out that way.”
Cardinals coach Jake Higuera said his players gave away the ball too often, which opened them up to a lot of Bulldog scoring.
“We played hard, but we need to play well,” Higuera said.
Chenoweth led scoring for Grand Valley with 17 points, the team 11 for 15 for free throws.
Both teams are now 7-4 overall, but Moffat County’s 5-1 record in the 3A Western Slope League elevates them to second place over 4-2 Grand Valley. The Cardinals will take on league leaders Olathe on Tuesday, while the Lady Bulldogs will meet Aspen Friday.
Bulldog fans held their collective breaths as the boys teams took the floor, knowing the victor of the final game of the day would be ranked in first place in the 3A Western Slope League.
It looked like dejà vu as Grand Valley’s boys sank the first two baskets, and as is it did with the girls, the first quarter was the most telling, the Bulldogs catching up quickly for a lead that would last them throughout the game. An 18-8 first quarter became a 37-29 half, and Moffat County knew they couldn’t let things slip in the latter half.
Another strong third and fourth quarter for the Bulldogs gave them a nice pairing of 23 and 22 points, staying ahead of the Cardinals, who had 18 and 17 in each quarter.
Moffat County’s Joe Camilletti set the pace for scoring with 28 points overall, followed by Denton Taylor with 18 and Tyler Davis, 11.
Taylor sank four out of seven free throws, contributing to the team’s 12-for-19.
“We’ve been struggling with free throws, so that’s what we’ve been trying to key in on in practice,” Taylor said. “We want to get better and better at it.”
With nine points from outside the arc and four more from the line during the second half as part of a 26-point game, Cardinal Johnny Parker was determined to overtake Moffat County, but he and coach Scott Parker saw the weak spot for Grand Valley as being beneath the hoop, one which all their baskets couldn’t compensate for when the Bulldogs were able to turn Grand Valley’s unsuccessful shots to their advantage.
“(Moffat County) did a nice job on the boards, and we didn’t, that’s the difference,” Scott Parker said. “We gave them too many second shots, and that’s hard to overcome.”
MCHS coach Eric Hamilton referred to the results as “outstanding,” knowing the win meant a lot to his team.
“You could tell how the guys played, that it was important to them,” he said. “Total team defense, we controlled the boards and everybody contributed.”
“We’re in the driver’s seat now, and now we’ve just got to keep pushing, and it ain’t gonna be easy,” Hamilton said.
MCHS will round out the first set of games with league opponents with Aspen, a road game which Hamilton expects will be a hard one for his players. However, it’s afterward that has his concern as the conference play repeats itself, starting with Gunnison on Saturday.
“Everybody’s a lot tougher the second time,” he said.
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