Moffat County boys basketball scrimmages Rifle, Steamboat |

Moffat County boys basketball scrimmages Rifle, Steamboat

Nate Waggenspack
Moffat County center Javen Gumber goes up for a shot from underneath the basket Saturday at the MCHS gym. The Bulldogs boys basketball team scrimmaged Rifle and Steamboat Springs in preparation for the upcoming season.
Nate Waggenspack

— The Moffat County boys basketball team got its first look against competition from outside Craig this season and saw the good along with the bad.

The Bulldogs hosted Rifle and Steamboat Springs in scrimmages Saturday at Moffat County High School, getting ready for the season against good competition from the Western Slope.

Each game consisted of five, 10-minute periods with a running clock. The score was not kept, but with three playoff teams from a year ago, each game was tight and competitive.

Coaches wanted to work on specific aspects of their teams’ game and experimented with different lineups.

“We wanted to keep it simple and work on our defense,” Moffat County coach Eric Hamilton said Saturday. “We ran simple offensive sets and just used today to get better. I think we did. I saw a lot of good things from every guy we had.”

Moffat County faced mostly 2-3 zone defense from Steamboat and Rifle, forcing the Bulldogs to work on their half-court offense, as opposed to the transition running game they favor. It resulted in some pretty play, along with some possessions where Moffat County looked lost.

“It was a little sloppy at times. They were a little anxious,” Hamilton said. “But that’s why these scrimmages are so great. It gives you a chance to work the kinks out. And those are two great teams to scrimmage because they’re both so good on defense.”

Sophomore guard Kort Hathhorn had a good game against Rifle’s 2-3, roaming around in the high post and slashing to the basket when he got the ball. Rifle center Tanner Quick gave the Bulldogs fits on the offensive glass with his combination of size and strength.

In the Steamboat game, the Sailors gave Moffat County a much different look, spreading the floor and putting up and making lots of 3s.

“Steamboat, they hardly ever dribble on offense, it’s pass-pass-pass,” Hamilton said. “That’s another thing that’s good about these, is we can learn things from those other teams.”

For limited stretches during the Steamboat game, Moffat County went to its full-court pressure and was effective creating turnovers and turning them into baskets in transition.

One of the biggest benefits of the scrimmage was getting the players further down the varsity bench significant time against good competition. Hamilton liked what he got from everyone Saturday, including the group of sophomores he’ll rely on when the team needs key minutes off the bench.

“There were shining moments for each guy, I thought,” he said. “I liked what we did today.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or

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