Moffat County basketball teams treat Aspen to blizzard of points
Even with temperatures in free fall this week all over Colorado, things were heating up in the Moffat County High School gym.
MCHS basketball teams hosted Aspen Friday night in Craig for the first outing in weeks for either team following the holiday break.
Both Bulldog squads were prepped for the Skiers coming off a win Dec. 23 at the Pepsi Center, opening 3A Western Slope League play with victories against Coal Ridge.
Aspen boys were also ready to repeat a win, last experiencing a squeaker W, 58-57, Dec. 16 against Vail Christian.
The first game back from vacation for the Skiers resulted in a 64-45 loss to the Dogs, which started heavily in Moffat County’s favor with a 12-3 first quarter, Aspen finally finding their footing midway through the second period but playing catch-up the whole game with a 29-12 halftime tally.
Things came together even better in the latter portion of the game, said Brent Cook.
“We knew the ball better the second half, we were a little too individualized the first half,” he said.
Cook led scoring with 16 total points and two early three-pointers for the Bulldogs — 3-6 overall — while AJ Detrick put up nine for Aspen, which goes to 3-3 overall.
“There’s a lot of highlights along with all the lowlights we had tonight, but at the end of the day, we dug ourselves a hole,” said boys coach Alex Schrempf. “We played like we came back from a 10-day vacation, we had one day to refresh and we weren’t ready. Moffat came to fight from the jump. Credit to my guys, especially some of my underclassmen, they stepped up and they hustled.”
Schrempf added the night was “a nice gut-check” to show his athletes what they needed to improve on going forward.
Keenan Hildebrandt followed in scoring for the Dogs with 12 and Justin Dugan 11. The entire Bulldog boys bench for the night made it on the scoreboard, Kasen Brennise with six points; Cale Scranton, Jerod Chacon and Connor Murphy four each; Torin Reed three; and two apiece for Eddie Smercina and Colby Beaver.
“Defense played solid the entire game, the intensity was good tonight,” said coach Eric Hamilton.
Skier girls remain winless at 0-6 overall following a 54-23 defeat to the Lady Bulldogs, who likewise stayed in front all night starting with a 16-6 first quarter and a 26-12 half.
Cliara Sanchez led both teams with 11 points, while Jana Camilletti, Josey King and Brooke Gumber each had eight for MCHS, now 8-1.
Gumber claimed three buckets in the fourth quarter as part of a 12-point run put together with Quinn Pinnt and Kinlie Brennise.
“We all played as a team and everyone worked together,” Gumber said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, do the best we can.”
MCHS girls coach Kenley Nebeker said players performed well on both sides of the ball, implementing new strategies and playing team ball.
“The name of the game is execution,” he said. “Our mantra is that we want to work hard, play as a team.”
Kinlie Brennise and Mattie Jo Duzik both put up seven points, Alex Hamilton six, Pinnt and Makenna Baker four each and Emma Samuelson two.
Though varsity games were closer, Bulldog teams set the tone earlier in the day as JV squads trounced the Skiers, girls 54-11 and boys 66-18.
Aspen girls coach Greg Peterson said the earlier games were an indicator of what his players would face.
“I told my girls, these are your teachers, we’re gonna go to school tonight,” he said. “We’re not a basketball powerhouse, and any small success is a step in the right direction.”
The two WSL schools will meet again Jan. 21 in Aspen for the official conference game.
Both Moffat County and Aspen varsity teams have their next games Tuesday, the Dogs traveling to Central High School in Grand Junction, kicking off a streak of away matches that lasts until MCHS hosts Roaring Fork Jan. 27.
Conference honors may not be at stake, but the Central games are crucial for both Bulldog coaches as they go up against a larger school.
“It’s a game where I’m just excited to see where we’re at in 5A Colorado basketball,” Nebeker said. “You get good by playing good teams.”
The following weekend is a league game at Grand Valley in Parachute, which Eric Hamilton anticipates to be a challenge.
“I’m sure they’ll be running and gunning, and it’s always hard to play at Grand Valley,” he said.
Though older Moffat County teams will not play at home for nearly three weeks, boys and girls C-Teams will keep the Dog House occupied with their home opener against Roaring Fork starting at 4 p.m. Monday.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.
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The dinosaur bones Liz Johnson and her team have found in western Moffat County are millions, maybe tens of millions of years old.