Moffat County boys hoops falls, 62-57, to Roaring Fork in 1st league loss
Girls control Saturday game with Rams, win 46-21
It was a happy Valentine’s Day for one of the Moffat County High School varsity basketball teams, though the other squad must have felt a bit like Charlie Brown waiting by the mailbox.
The winning streak of MCHS boys hoops came to a halt with a 62-57 loss against the Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale Saturday in Craig.
Following a 70-60 win against Coal Ridge the night before, the Bulldogs looked confident as the game began, but their smiles faded as the Rams proved to be more of a contender than when they last met Jan. 23 in a decisive 69-48 victory for MCHS.
A 13-7 first quarter in the Rams’ favor didn’t look too bad until Roaring Fork’s Lorenzo Andrade sank a three to start the second quarter — and then put in two more from the same range. Outside scoring started to open up for Moffat County about this time too, as Joe Camilletti and Tyler Davis answered back, only for Aldo Pinela and Ben Carpenter to establish themselves from the arc, as well, leading to a 36-20 Ram lead at halftime.
Things started to even out in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs outscored Roaring Fork, 14-8, seven of which were from Dylan Kincade, in the best period of his 18-point game.
The telltale fourth meant everything to the Bulldogs, who had yet to see such a nerve-wracking event at home this season, and their defense showed it, doing all they could to limit the Rams while amping up their scoring.
After the three-minute mark, the determined Moffat County boys brought themselves from 56-46 to 58-53, and the swish of a three by Matt Hamilton had them closer than ever, 58-56, with 40 seconds to go.
The strategy to go for fouls to keep the clock frozen didn’t pan out, as the Rams nailed four of their eight free throws from here on, the only Bulldog points coming from a toss by Denton Taylor.
Following Kincade in scoring were Taylor with 16, Matt Hamilton with nine and Camilletti with seven, the team 12 for 19 from the line.
MCHS coach Eric Hamilton said he felt his team was not well enough prepared — a weakness for which he took responsibility — whereas the visitors were ready to topple the top team in the conference.
“Roaring Fork basically came in and kicked our butts with a great game plan,” he said. “I’m proud of how our guys came back in the second half, that’s all we could ask of them.”
Moffat County is now 11-1 in the 3A Western Slope League, 13-4 overall.
If the Bulldogs had to lose one, the coach would rather it be now than Friday on the road against their biggest threat, Grand Valley, and hopefully, the defeat will “put a little fire under them,” said Coach Hamilton.
“I still think we can win the league championship,” he said. “We’re going to go back to work, but this has got to get better versus Grand Valley.”
Though the boys game was a question mark right until the end, there was little doubt about how the Lady Bulldogs would fare, as they gained a 46-21 win against the Roaring Fork girls.
Moffat County girls set a dominant tone at 16-4 in the first quarter and then 27-9 at the half.
A pair of steals led to quick twos for MCHS’s Kayla Pinnt as the Bulldogs continued to run things in the third quarter, and while Roaring Fork kept at it on defense, Cindy Salinas hit the floor hard and had to be removed from the game.
Moffat County held their biggest lead, 46-13, going into the final eight minutes, but their shots weren’t falling at all, and the Rams counted the fourth as their best moments of the game, going 8-0.
Mattie Jo Duzik was the top scorer for the day with 14 points, with Leah Camilletti taking eight and Morgan Lawton seven, in a match that saw them go four for seven on free throws, all in the first quarter.
MCHS advances to 12-5, 10-2 to keep a tight hold on second place in the WSL.
Between the Roaring Fork game and Friday’s 61-35 win against Coal Ridge — which saw them on fire from the perimeter with Leah Camilletti taking six three-pointers, Josey King three and Kaitlyn Peroulis two — coach Sam McLeod felt it was simply a “great weekend” for the girls.
“I thought the whole team did a great job finding open shooters (Friday), and we played great defense. Coal Ridge is a tough team, right behind us, No. 3, and it was a really big game for us to win,” he said. “Today it was important to establish tempo early with our press. They’ve been doing a good job executing in multiple ways, and I’m proud of them executing on the half-court as a team.”
In the last week of regular games MCHS will be in Parachute Friday and host Aspen Saturday with festivities that include Senior Night. McLeod expects some solid play, especially against the Cardinals’ Kyra Chenoweth, who’s averaging the most points per game of any WSL player.
“That’s going to be a good challenge for us going into the playoffs,” he said.
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