Moffat County boys face steep challenge with Summit
With Moffat County High School girls facing a larger opponent in Grand Junction Central earlier this month, Bulldog boys basketball was seeking this week to break the hoops program’s run of bad luck against teams in a higher classification.
But, despite a promising start against a 4A foe, the Dogs’ Thursday match-up didn’t finish their way.
MCHS boys moved to 5-8 overall with a 56-40 non-conference defeat to the Summit Tigers.
The blue and white bunch had the energy on their side as the varsity game began, with Bulldog C-Team’s 31-29 win and a junior varsity round that was utter Dog dominance as the JV squad turned a healthy halftime lead of 25-12 into a 48-21 rout.
The home team — back on their own floor after back-to-back 3A Western Slope weekend play at Grand Valley and Cedaredge — were on a roll in the first four minutes as smart shooting on one end and disruptive defense on the other end put them ahead 12-5 as Summit called a timeout.
From there, the Moffat momentum began to wane as Tigers picked up six points interrupted only by a Chris Maneotis layup, ending the first period 14-11.
Summit took their first lead early in the second quarter as Cameron Kalaf twice picked Bulldog pockets and ran it back to his own bucket on the fastbreak.
Landen Najera, Jerod Chacon and Ryan Peck responded with their own turnarounds, yet the scoreboard read like a belated New Year’s celebration with a 20-20 draw by halftime.
After the break, despite Peck putting back a rebound to start the third, the Tigers suddenly overtook the Dogs with a 10-point run while creating pressure on the MoCo shooters.
The Bulldogs faced a 35-27 deficit leading into the final stretch, and as erratic passes kept giving possession back to the Tigers, Summit held their greatest lead at 52-35 before free throws started letting the Dogs claw back a bit.
Peck led MCHS scoring with 10 points, while Landen Najera earned eight points in the first half and Wesley Counts eight in the latter, which included hitting the Dogs’ only triple and a last-minute layup.
Counts said the draining of energy in the second half for the team was part of the illness issues the group fought through the week before as athletes look to get back to good health.
While their C-Teams will host a weekend tournament at home, MCHS boys and girls’ varsity and JV teams will travel Saturday to Basalt.
Basalt boys hoops is 1-11 overall and winless so far in the 3A Western Slope League as they face Cedaredge Friday night, while Lady Longhorns are 6-4, 1-2 in league play.
Counts said he’s confident the team can recover enough to get back into the weekend fray before a lengthier game hiatus lets the Dogs get rested for Feb. 7’s match in Delta.
“It’s just a matter of staying focused,” he said.