Moffat County basketball teams net wins in 1st league games
Girls win 68-27, boys 60-40 in Gunnison
The Moffat County High School basketball teams won across the board Friday night in Gunnison, with varsity and JV squads each coming out on top against the Bulldogs’ first league opponents of the season.
The girls claimed a 68-27 victory to start the varsity level off right, and the boys finished the night with a 60-40 win.
The girls took an early lead against the Lady Cowboys, ahead 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, and the margin grew from there, the Lady Bulldogs on top, 31-16, once halftime began.
Gunnison continued to struggle to scrape together points in the latter half, while MCHS had no such problem, making the score 52-20 by the conclusion of the third with their biggest streak of baskets yet. Moffat County took their foot off the gas just a bit in the final quarter, still firmly ahead and scoring 16 to Gunnison’s 7 to make a 41-point differential.
While shooting was important, of course, the team’s all-around play was what made the night so successful, girls coach Sam McLeod said.
“The key was our pressure,” he said. “We threw a lot of different presses at them, and they got a lot going in transition defensively.”
Offensively, Josey King was the top scorer with 19 points, Kayla Pinnt with 12 and Morgan Lawton had nine. On the other side of the ball, Moffat County had plenty of steals in particular — Pinnt recorded eight, Katia Voloshin scored seven and Lawton scored six.
The game also was a return for Katelyn Peroulis, who, after a summer surgery, was unable to play at the start of the season. McLeod said he used Peroulis sparingly, but he was “extremely pleased” when she nailed her first shot of the season, a 3-pointer.
“A lot of times, kids can’t come back from that and play at a high level, and I think that she’s going to become a bigger and bigger factor on the floor,” McLeod said.
The boys faced stiffer competition, as the Cowboys came out strong, holding the Bulldogs at bay to start the game, but Moffat County was able to tie it up at 9 to end the first quarter.
The total remained close as both teams fought for dominance, but the Bulldogs slowly began to pull away, ending the half with a comfortable 29-17 advantage.
As coach Eric Hamilton and players hit the locker room, they discussed how to come back from some poor shooting that gave them a slow start.
“The guys came out and played really awesome defense and had a heck of a third quarter,” Hamilton said.
MCHS boys followed the girls’ lead, shutting down Gunnison’s scoring in the third and amping up their own, making it 51-22 by the end of the quarter.
The Cowboys started to catch up in the final minutes, but the Bulldogs had little cause for concern at that point.
“I couldn’t have been happier to come out of Gunnison with a 20-point win,” Hamilton said.
Tyler Davis led scoring with 19 points, followed by Keenan Hildebrandt’s 11 and Denton Taylor’s eight.
Hamilton pointed to Hildebrandt’s work on the boards as a difference-maker, pulling down so many rebounds coaches were unable to keep track of them.
“That kid got a great double-double,” he said.
Both boys and girls are 3-3 on the season and 1-0 as they begin conference play in the 3A Western Slope League. On Saturday afternoon, they’ll each face Olathe in the hopes of keeping the streak going.
“Olathe’s got a new coach this year, so we don’t know a lot about them right now, so all we can do is be ready to play another league game,” Hamilton said.
While Olathe boys now are 0-6, the school’s girls look to be more challenging, but McLeod said his team needs to be tested.
“It’s going to be a good measuring stick for us,” he said.
This year, a handful of Moffat County High School graduates are setting out to carry on the family tradition. From business to education, these students plan to follow in the footsteps their parents and in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents.