Moffat County county hoops concludes Mountain Top Classic vs. Centauri
LA JARA — The lengthy road trip to south central Colorado was full of highs and lows for Moffat County High School basketball, but there’s no denying the final games of the three-day Mountain Top Classic were the toughest.
So much for the sweep
MCHS girls lost a heartbreaker Saturday to the hosting Centauri Falcons, falling 59-54.
The Lady Bulldogs led nearly the entire game apart from a brief interval when Centauri overtook them at 24-23 in the second period. Moffat County quickly regained the advantage for a 35-28 lead at halftime.
With 18 total points in the game, Halle Hamilton led the Lady Dogs in scoring with nine of those points in the first period alone.
“She was just on, and she kept us in the game,” coach Jim Loughran said of his only freshman varsity athlete.
The third quarter finished with MoCo ahead 45-40, but the Falcons caught up little by little in the final moments, tying it at 54 before getting five more go-ahead points to put their early season record at 3-0.
Loughran noted that the Falcons were 13 for 13 in free throws in the fourth quarter with only three field goals.
“We kind of ran out of gas there after being on the road for so long,” he said. “That old grizzly climbed on our back the second half.”
Loughran said the full roster did a great job, noting Tiffany Hildebrandt as a standout on defense, with fellow seniors Kinlie Brennise and Madie Weber named to the Classic’s All-Tournament Team.
In a good outside shooting day, Brennise had two triples against Centauri, with Weber, Hamilton and Emaleigh Papierski one each.
Updated early season rankings from Colorado High School Activities Association placed Centauri in sixth among 3A girls, with Moffat County falling from fifth to seventh.
Lady Dogs are 2-1 after wins over Montezuma Cortez and Sargent to start the La Jara tourney. The squad will next play Cañon City at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6 to start a new tournament, the Glenwood Springs Demon Invitational.
Moffat County boys also faced off with Centauri Saturday in the hopes of gaining a second win after their Friday victory against the Sargent Farmers.
Though the Bulldogs had Landen Najera back on the floor after a shoulder injury Thursday in the loss to Montezuma Cortez, they were down another player as Connor Murphy sat out with a knee issue.
Moffat boys kept it close in the first quarter, trailing 12-10, but the Dogs struggled to score most of the game, with nine points in each of the last three periods, the Falcons going 3-0 with a 54-37 win.
Despite the shooting difficulties, coach Eric Hamilton said athletes were on point on the other side of the ball.
“They were awesome on defense,” he said. “Their pressure caused a lot of turnovers.”
Murphy, who was the leading scorer against Sargent, made the All-Tournament Team, as did Wesley Counts, who added 14 points against the Falcons, including a pair of three-pointers.
MCHS boys are 1-2 and will next compete at the Demon Invite, seeing Denver Christian at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 in the first round.
The Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters will move to Grand Junction.