Moffat County girls hoops drops Friday game, 42-37, with WSL 1st place Olathe
Boys team continues hot streak with 77-40 win over Pirates
The sports truism about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat couldn’t have been any more accurate Friday night in the Moffat County High School gym, just not in that order.
MCHS varsity basketball had a varied night hosting Olathe, with the 77-40 win by the boys a consolation during an evening that saw the girls lose, 42-37, in another close game against their greatest rivals this season.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 7-2 in the 3A Western Slope League, 9-5 overall after their drubbing by the Lady Pirates, MCHS now sitting in second place in the WSL while 9-0 Olathe has all but clinched the top spot in the conference, 13-1 all told for the year.
After a 64-59 heartbreaker on Jan. 10, the Bulldogs were ready to exact their revenge on the Pirates, but a shaky first quarter full of rushed shooting on both ends didn’t bode well, as Moffat County was down, 11-4.
A pair of successful free throws by Leah Camilletti with about 19 seconds remaining in the first half helped the team start to gain some late momentum, as did a last-second breakaway layup by Mattie Jo Duzik that ended the second quarter, 18-12, still in Olathe’s favor but Moffat County still hopeful.
Moffat County got few chances at the free throw line, sinking four out of six, whereas the Pirates’ took more frequent trips to the charity stripe, their nine-for-13 night an asset.
Though she was scoreless in the first half, Morgan Lawton looked determined to engineer a comeback all on her lonesome, taking away 14 points in a second half that started to get a little fierce.
Olathe’s 11-10 advantage in the third quarter was followed by a Bulldog fourth that saw the team go 15-13 against the Pirates, but the off-target shooting earlier in the game proved too much of a liability, even with a three-point margin with 3:33 left in the game that could have proved the turning point.
Leah Camilletti had 10 points, Josey King seven and Duzik six.
Coach Sam McLeod said the shaky shooting might have been less of a problem against a different opponent, though he felt the girls compensated well on the other side of the ball.
“We were right where I wanted to be defensively,” he said. “We did a good job with the 2-3 zone, you can’t ask for more than that, but we just couldn’t score and hit some of those open shots we usually hit.”
While the Lady Bulldogs were unable to plunder the treasure of the Olathe girls’ first place WSL standing, the leaders of the boys league capped off the night by sinking the male Pirates with the biggest defeat yet of their 0-14 season.
The Bulldogs — 9-0 WSL, 11-3 — took no prisoners in a game that started with a 17-7 first quarter before exploding to a 42-17 imbalance at halftime.
That was the only beginning — after Olathe opened the second half with a free throw by Deven McMurdy, MCHS went on a tear, scoring 14 points the Pirates couldn’t respond to until late in the third quarter, which ended 59-25.
Olathe’s best quarter came at the end, but the Bulldogs outscored them, 18-15, as the starters took a breather and the reserves kept at it.
The game provided some memorable moments for those in the bleachers, with dunks by Joe Camilletti and Matt Hamilton gaining plenty of cheers from the crowd. The two rim-rattling seniors led with 22 and 14 points, respectively, followed by Keenan Hildebrandt with 12 and Denton Taylor, 10.
Though not the most solid night for free throws — 10 for 21 — transitional baskets were many, as one turnover after another handed the Bulldogs points, coach Eric Hamilton said.
“We’ve been working on stepping up our defensive pressure in the full-court and in the half-court,” he said. “The guys did a great job.”
Moffat County teams will travel to Basalt Saturday, and the boys aren’t expecting to have the exact same results.
“Basalt’s given some teams some good battles, so we’ve got to get after it,” Eric Hamilton said.
McLeod likewise won’t let players assume teams they’ve already beaten will lead to easy wins.
“We’ve got a lot of tough games coming down the stretch,” he said.
Still, the tenacity his players showed against Olathe will mean a lot weeks from now.
“We played a two-possession game against the No. 1 team in the league, so I don’t think that puts us too far behind,” he said.
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