Moffat County girls earn fourth straight district title
Hoops team ready for regional rounds of postseason at home
February 27, 2016
Grand JunctionGrand Junction — Just as surely as the Dallas Cowboys host an opponent on Thanksgiving Day, so has the Central High School gym seen a match-up between — Just as surely as the Dallas Cowboys host an opponent on Thanksgiving Day, so has the Central High School gym seen a match-up between Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School and Olathe. And, with all apologies to Jerry Jones, the Lady Bulldogs have made much more of the tradition in recent years. and Olathe. And, with all apologies to Jerry Jones, the Lady Bulldogs have made much more of the tradition in recent years.
Grand Junction — Just as surely as the Dallas Cowboys host an opponent on Thanksgiving Day, so has the Central High School gym seen a match-up between Moffat County High School and Olathe. And, with all apologies to Jerry Jones, the Lady Bulldogs have made much more of the tradition in recent years.
MCHS girls are four for four against Olathe in the 3A Western Slope League District Championship game, taking a 64-55 win Saturday to advance to the regional round of the postseason with a 19-3 record.
First quarter jitters
With a sizable victory over Coal Ridge behind them Friday night, the Lady Dogs had every reason to be confident while still knowing that the final part of districts would be their biggest hurdle yet, the Lady Pirates likewise boasting a Friday night triumph.
Josey King started off the scoring for MCHS with a three-point swish after 20 seconds.
"We had to come out strong and fast and that got it started, but we really had to fight and scratch for it," King said.
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Olathe answered back fiercely as Shelby Anderson, Kacy Henwood, Miranda Pacheco and Taylor Brown put together an eight-point run, cut short by field goals by Morgan Lawton and Mattie Jo Duzik.
Anderson put up another two and Pacheco back-to-back threes in response, while Kayla Pinnt dashed in for a layup with seconds left for a layup that put the score at 16-9, Olathe.
"We all stuck together and played as a team, helping each other," Pinnt later said of the tougher moments. "We had to work to play our game instead of letting them play their game."
Second quarter, second wind
While it may have looked like the Pirates were setting the pace, the Bulldogs cleared up any misconceptions from there, as Moffat County defense from starters and second-stringers Katia Voloshin and Alex Hamilton alike limited Olathe's shooting effort, the effort resulting in some trips to the line, each team gaining four points in the quarter off free throws, though it was Lawton and Leah Camilletti who hit all their opportunities compared to Olathe's four for seven.
It was Lawton who tied things up at 21 with a shot beneath, to which Emily Mundy came back with a three, while Lawton and Camilletti gave the Dogs their own eight-point streak to close out the half ahead, 29-24.
Third quarter tie
After leaving the locker room and hearing their coaches' halftime pep talks, each squad was on their toes in the second half, Brown starting things off with a shot in the post.
Neither team let the other get much momentum, Lady Dogs leading by as much as eight with King and Camilletti hitting shots outside and Lawton elbowing her way into the paint, both teams careful not to let the foul count get too high, King taking one of two throws, the only ones on either side.
Both teams put up 17 in the period as they headed into the point of no return.
And the winner is…
The sounds of Queen's "We Will Rock You" played over the loudspeaker fit the temperament of the WSL rivals, Olathe wanting a victory over Moffat County more than ever.
It almost looked like they'd get their wish when Pacheco and Anderson hit crucial close shots to momentarily take the lead, 50-49, though Camilletti and Pinnt quickly gave the edge back to the Bulldogs with some quick field goals and an and-one from Pinnt.
With about 2:30 left in the game, Moffat County caught a break as Brown, the enforcer of the Pirate crew, fouled out of the action.
Camilletti failed to hit either of the resulting tosses from the line, but after Anderson nailed two of her own to bring it to 54-52, Camilletti sank a three to push the MCHS lead further.
Her defining moment of the game was yet to come, though, as a long pass nearly fell into Olathe hands, Camilletti snatching it back, charging in for the layup and drawing a foul shot to put the score out of reach for the Pirates.
Mundy hit another three to give Olathe hope, but all the Lady Dogs needed to do was hold on to the ball, Camilletti and Pinnt taking four more points in free throws to claim the win, Craig fans in the crowd chanting, "Up, up, on your feet, Moffat County can't beat!" to signal the MCHS girls' fourth straight district plaque.
"I think we just stayed positive and start getting momentum, and we want it more than them," Camilletti said after the Bulldog revelry was complete.
Camilletti led overall scoring with 23 points, with fellow senior Lawton taking 19, junior King nine, senior Pinnt seven and junior Duzik six. Lady Dogs were 24 for 59 in shooting, four for 17 in threes and 12 for 16 in foul shots.
Pacheco led Olathe with 16, Brown 15, Anderson 12, Mundy seven and Henwood five. Pirates were 22 for 51 in shots, five for 17 in threes and six for 10 in free throws.
MCHS coach Sam McLeod said Olathe is regularly a fun team to play for the challenge they provide.
"Pretty intense game, we expected it to be," McLeod said. "We executed well in the last four minutes, maximized each possession. That was one we had to be focused all the way to the end."
Ready and raring for regional rounds
On Sunday, the brackets for the regional rounds of 3A hoops were set by CHSAA, Moffat County guaranteed to be a host site for the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16 of the playoffs, and each game from here could be their last.
Lady Bulldogs were seeded fourth and will bring in Eagle Ridge Academy, 29th, for a Friday game. Also coming to MCHS will be No. 13 Monte Vista, squaring off against Platte Valley, 20th seed in 3A.
"We get to host, which is fun to not have to travel, celebrate with the whole town there, but we've got more steps to go," McLeod said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.