Moffat County girls basketball rebounds with Round 2 win at Demon Invite; boys have hellish 1st half in semifinals
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A little bit of second-half faith elevated one Moffat County High School basketball squad Friday night, while the other couldn’t recover from a weak start that haunted them the rest of the evening.
MCHS hoops teams both moved to 1-1 within the Demon Invitational hosted by Glenwood Springs as each Bulldog bunch faced off with the Faith Christian Eagles.
After a devastating loss in the tournament’s opening round Thursday to Cañon City, Lady Dogs were prepared to make some changes in the consolation segment.
It took them some time to build up much of a score against the Eagles, with only two free throws by Tiffany Hildebrandt giving them points early in the game, but a three-pointer by Halle Hamilton got the ball rolling on offense, as the first quarter ended with MoCo behind 11-5.
The Bulldog D, on the other hand, was smothering opponents, and though it was giving Faith Christian too many opportunities at the line, it also slowed down the Eagles bit by bit.
A full-court effort by Hamilton saw her snatch an inbound pass late in the half to briefly tie it at 18, though Faith led 21-18 at halftime.
Out of the locker room, Bulldogs were a whole new team as Madie Weber, Jaidyn Steele and Jenna Timmer began nailing inside shots left and right, while Hildebrandt and Quinn Pinnt kept their feet on the ground on the other end, absorbing two charges from the increasingly physical Eagles.
“Playing way better teams like this, it really forces us to see what we need to work on,” Pinnt said.
A narrow margin of 26-24 led to a greater lead for Moffat girls as they were selective with their shots and added 16 more points for the 42-34 win.
“They played with patience, didn’t foul in the second half and started hitting their shots,” coach Jim Loughran said.
Hamilton led scoring with 14 points and a pair of triples. Timmer had six, Hildy and Kinlie Brennise five and Steele four.
Pinnt’s four points came from back-to-back stints at the charity stripe, hitting every shot.
“When I get to the line, I try not to think about it too much,” she said. “I’ve just gotta clear my hand and think that it’s a normal game.”
Moffat boys were also looking for a victory over Faith Christian after a successful Thursday evening, 63-62, against Denver Christian to move on to the next slot of the tournament’s championship segment.
Though they knew the Eagles would be tough after the squad shut down host Glenwood the night before, Bulldog boys had to sympathize with the Demons as Faith mixed up the gameplan with long and short shots alike to lead the first period 18-8 before a 36-17 half.
“That may have been the worst first half we’ve ever had,” coach Eric Hamilton said. “Once they started playing team ball, it started getting better.”
MCHS was able to neutralize the Eagles’ offense for much of the third quarter, but when they started coming back, they did so with relish, putting together an eight-point run that ended the period 53-29, Faith Christian.
Coach Hamilton kept rotating the roster to keep players fresh, but even as the Dogs had their best quarter scoring 16 in the finale, the Eagles had no hesitation getting into the paint, ending the game 77-45.
MoCo’s Wesley Counts picked up 15 points in the defeat, tying Faith’s Graham for the top score honors, each of them gaining a trio of three-pointers.
MCHS teams will each face the Alamosa Mean Moose Saturday as Lady Bulldogs strive for fifth-place and boys look to end the tourney 2-1 ranked third.
Both head coaches said they hope to see a full game in the third round, as players’ abilities to go for the long haul will be tested.
“It’ll be tough, that’s for sure,” Loughran said.
One inning can define an entire game of baseball, and though Moffat County High School was on both sides of that truth Saturday, the Bulldogs’ first conference matchup ultimately went their way.