Moffat County basketball snows Aspen as Bulldogs rebound from tough games
While snow was hitting Colorado hard earlier in the week, it was a blizzard of Bulldog buckets Saturday afternoon.
Moffat County High School varsity basketball teams each moved to 5-2 in the 3A Western Slope League with weekend wins against Aspen as girls stomped the Skiers 60-23 and boys won handily 59-44 as both teams recovered from Friday night defeats in Delta.
For Lady Bulldogs, the difference in intensity was night and day going from the top of the conference with the Panthers to the Skiers, who have yet to record a W against a league opponent.
Aspen girls put a fight right out of the gate but weren’t able to slow the Moffat County momentum as Lady Dogs started with a 16-0 run before ending the first quarter ahead 18-6.
The Skier offense perked up early in the second quarter but also had new pitfalls as Bulldog Jenna Timmer had two charge calls in her favor and the MCHS defense as a whole were causing chaos leading into a 35-12 halftime.
The onslaught was at its greatest in a 19-6 third period as Lady Dogs were notching up the scoreboard from every angle, while the last minutes were solely working around the rock and winding down the clock.
Makayla Martinez said players were able to pretty much run the game flow on their home floor.
“We didn’t really plan much for Aspen. Our whole focus was on Delta,” she said. “In Delta, it was kind of hard to beat their press and get around that. They’re a tough team.”
After a night in Delta where no one scored more than six points, Emaleigh Papierski led with 13 points — as she, Jacie Evenson and Reese Weber each scored from deep — while Cayden King scored 11, Halle Hamilton 10, Timmer nine, Bree Meats eight and Stephenie Swindler three.
While MoCo girls spent Friday forever catching up to Delta, a neck-and-neck night complete with overtime versus the Panthers had Bulldog boys ready for a potentially similar afternoon with Aspen.
Late travel didn’t help either, coach Steve Maneotis said.
“When you get home a 2 o’clock in the morning, I was worried about fatigue,” he said.
Nevertheless, Dogs started with six swift points against the Skiers and stayed strong on both ends of the floor to come to a first quarter lead of 15-10 before Aspen momentarily gained the lead at 17-15 with a short scoring spree.
The Dogs got it back for keeps from there, heading into the locker room in front 28-25, the tally a bit narrower than they’d like.
“We’re still learning how to put runs together and our peaks and valleys a little too far apart,” Maneotis said. “We’re still working on consistency as a team.”
With halftime devoted to the boys basketball program’s salute to alumni, a 15-9 third quarter followed as the Dogs sought to retake the energy and put it out of reach.
“It was good to to have the alumni back and have the guys meet some of them and see what this program was built on,” Maneotis said. “We’ll take every boost we can get right now. We came out a lot more disciplined in our offense.”
Up 43-34 at that point, the final stretch for Moffat County men all but repeated itself as they added their last 16 points and limited the Skiers to 10.
“Our defense got a little soft, but with 15-9 and 16-10, I’ll take that,” Maneotis said.
Maneotis noted that a second half shift in defense helped isolate Jonathan Woodrow, whose 11 points in the first two quarters was complemented by a single fourth period free throw as Bulldog big man Landen Najera stymied him in coverage.
Najera almost went too far with a last-second block attempt, wrenching his shoulder on the backboard.
Jordan Carlson and Ryan Peck each earned 14 points, Najera 13, Myles Simpson nine, Wesley Counts six, Jerod Chacon two and Chris Maneotis one.
Though it was a good victory over Aspen, coach Maneotis said the overall play was better in Delta even with the loss in extra minutes. Against the Panthers, Counts put up 14 points, Carlson 12, Chris Maneotis 11 and Najera 10.
“Wes had a tremendous game in that one on both ends of the floor. He was playing above the rim, just a huge game, the best of the year for him,” coach Maneotis said.
Coming down to their final weeks of the regular schedule, both Bulldog squads remain firmly in the top four of the conference with girls at 11-5 and boys at 7-9 overall.
The Dogs will host non-conference school Middle Park Thursday, Feb. 13 before traveling the following Saturday to Carbondale to face Roaring Fork before ending the league slate with Coal Ridge Feb. 20 at home.
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While the state of Colorado will receive much less in vaccines in the second major rollout than expected, Moffat County continues to roll along vaccinating community members with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.