Moffat County boys basketball outgunned by Grand Valley, girls clip Cardinals
January 13, 2018
After a frenetic Friday night, Moffat County High School hoops teams hoped to maintain the same pace Saturday, though the MoCo mojo had more in the tank for one squad than the other.
MCHS girls took their first 3A Western Slope League win against the Grand Valley Cardinals, 51-41 against their Parachute opponents, while Moffat County boys struggled to keep their momentum with a 72-51 defeat to the Cards.
The Lady Bulldogs, 8-2 overall, were still basking in their 45-32 win over Central the night before, and coach Kenley Nebeker noted that the game against Grand Valley showed his athletes were capable of carrying over their winning ways.
Early three-pointers by Kinlie Brennise, Jaidyn Steele and Jana Camilletti set the tone for Moffat County, but the Cardinals' Shaya Chenoweth had 12 points on her own in the first quarter, Grand Valley leading 19-18.
Chenoweth's all-around effort proved a challenge for the Lady Dogs, exemplified by a second-quarter skirmish with Quinn Pinnt, who got popped in the nose to result in a free throw.
"I stole it from her, she stole it from me, then I stole it back," Pinnt said.
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A 27-25 halftime lead led to slow gains on both sides in the second half, but an outside shot by Camilletti concluded the third quarter 36-35, MCHS with the meager advantage.
The Lady Dogs kept after it to limit the Cards' shooting and increase their own in the final period to walk away with the victory, which Nebeker said may have been the team's best execution on offense, as well as a better performance on foul shots, 15 for 22, compared to Friday's 10 for 29.
"The point spread wasn't any different, but it felt more comfortable thanks to those free throws," he said. "That makes all the difference in the world."
Camilletti had 18 points, Brooke Gumber nine, Brennise and Steele six each, while Jaci McDiffett, Tiffany Hildebrandt and Madie Weber all netted four.
Pinnt said she felt her teammates had one of their best group efforts Saturday.
"We came out really strong today, and we all have great relationships, we're really bonding with each other more," she said.
MCHS girls junior varsity games began the day with a 45-23 win, followed by boys JV with a narrow defeat of 52-48.
Moffat County boys varsity was looking for another home win after a come-from-behind overtime evening, 55-53, against Central.
No such luck.
The Cardinals proved why they have yet to lose this season and stand fifth in CHSAA rankings going into the weekend. They led the entire game, beginning with a 20-10 first period and a 42-26 half before making it to 8-0.
Head coach Eric Hamilton said the enthusiasm wasn't anywhere near the Central game, players drained for the latter day of competition.
"Kids came out really flat in the first half, which is to be expected (after Friday), but we've got to learn to cope with that and turn it around," he said. "As coaches, we've got to help them with that. It's our job to get them prepared mentally."
Though trailing by double digits for nearly the entire match, the 6-4 Bulldogs still had three players with 10-plus points — Brent Cook had 15, Landen Najera 14 and Colby Beaver 11 — and were always on the hunt for second chance buckets.
Najera said he refused to be intimidated by Grand Valley.
"They put their shorts on just like we do," he said. "If we just play from here more like we did with Central, we'll be unstoppable."
MCHS teams host Rifle Jan. 19, with the schedule switched up as boys JV starts at 4 p.m., girls JV at 5:30 p.m., boys varsity at 7 p.m. and girls varsity at 8:30 p.m. The games will be a non-conference night against a 4A school, and coaches look to keep teams and fans energized in preparation.
"Rifle doesn't have a good record (1-11), but they've got some good athletes," Hamilton said.
With the Lady Bears 10-1, Nebeker said he expects quite a contest to test the limits of his players. More so, he hopes events with such a close-proximity team will remain a memorable part of the schedule.
"I still consider it a rivalry game," he said. "They're a good challenge, and it's a fun challenge, plus Rifle really gets into it when we're in their town."