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Moffat County girls hoopsters outpace their Steamboat rivals

Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Moffat County High School's Reese Weber scores during a game at Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Moffat County defense was too tough for the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team. The Bulldogs stifled the Sailors offense all night, forcing turnovers and winning the game 44-25 on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Early in the contest, Sailors sophomore Samantha Campbell got caught in a trap against the sideline. She looked for a teammate but couldn’t find a way to get rid of the ball. Steamboat head coach George Ibarra called timeout.

“When they surprise us, we try to force the pass,” said Ibarra. “We need to just come back. Somebody needs to come back, get the ball. We’re just trying to force it. They know how to break the press. Once they calm down, they know.”

From there, Steamboat moved the ball quicker and more often, trying to evade the pressuring Bulldogs. Moffat County got more creative, though. When traps no longer worked, they simply snatched the ball from the Sailors hands, dribbled up the court and scored.

“We have a very tenacious defense,” said Moffat County head coach Jim Loughran. “We start and end on defense. I was proud of them. They hung in there. We tried some different things, and it worked. We’re a young team, very athletic.”

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Moffat County sophomore Halle Hamilton dribbles under pressure from Steamboat Springs junior Josey Foote during a game at Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The girls in blue were just as elusive on offense. They moved the ball, shifting the Sailors out of their defense. The Bulldogs put up just three shots from the three-point line. Instead, they chose to circle underneath and score with easy layups.

“That’s what we wanted, and we have several different ways to do that,” Loughran said. “They were getting them and missing some of them. It would have been really good if we could hit 50% of them.”

Sophomore Halle Hamilton did drain a deep three to make the score 33-15 with 3:26 left in the third. She finished the night with 9 points, though Emaleigh Papierski led the point count for both sides with 13, followed by Cayden King’s 12.

The Sailors netted seven points from the free throw line, accounting for nearly a third of their offense.

Junior Erica Simmons paced the team with seven points, while sophomore Sam Campbell and juniors Rose Epstein and Josey Foote followed with four.

It didn’t help that Sailors senior Jaycee May had to sit for most of the second half. Not having her out there furthered dampened the Sailors offense.

“I think it affects us a lot,” Epstein said of May’s absence. “When I get the ball on inbounds, I look for her mostly. When she’s not in, I struggle to find someone else. I feel like Erica really stepped up, and Josey stepped up into her place.”

Moffat County and Steamboat boys squared off later in the evening.

MCHS varsity girls moved to 5-2 with the win over their rivals and are next scheduled to host Rifle at 6 p.m. Thursday.


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