Moffat County hoops finish 20-7, 4th in state with loss to Lamar |

Moffat County hoops finish 20-7, 4th in state with loss to Lamar

Moffat County High School's Jaci McDiffett sends in a layup late in the game Saturday against Lamar. MCHS girls placed fourth in the state finals with a 47-36 loss against the Savages.
Andy Bockelman

It’s an accomplishment in itself to get to the full 27 games allowed in a high school basketball schedule, and it’s been quite the ride for Moffat County High School girls hoops.

The season total ended 20-7 Saturday as Lady Bulldogs’ final game concluded on the wrong side of a 47-36 tally against the Lamar Savages.

The defeat in the consolation round placed Moffat County girls fourth in the 3A State Championships.

The two teams were each looking to round out their time at University of Denver with a victory to go 2-1, each of which had unseated a higher-ranked squad on the first day’s Great 8 — No. 8 Moffat County defeating No. 1 Kent Denver 44-32 and No. 10 Lamar taking out No. 2 Pagosa Springs  42-33.

Likewise, both had taken losses in the semifinals — MCHS to Colorado Springs Christian 51-30 and Lamar to eventual state champs St. Mary’s Academy 48-36.

The third and final game of the Lady Dogs’ run at state began with a three-pointer by Jana Camilletti, though the Savages quickly built up a lengthy 15-point streak that lasted through the second quarter when Madie Weber sank a pair of free throws for Moffat County.

Weber and Brooke Gumber hit more foul shots from there, and Camilletti put in a layup late in the half to keep hope alive, with Lamar’s lead at 22-9 at halftime.

The Lady Dogs’ energy came back in the third quarter, beginning with Gumber stuffing two Lamar shots in a row against Cali Clark and Baillee Kee.

The Savages racked up fouls fast and swiftly put Moffat County in the double bonus as Camilletti, Gumber, Kinlie Brennise and Weber all stepped up to the line, a seven-point run them to 27-20, the period ending 29-21.

However, Lamar wised up in the fourth and was able to counter the MoCo defense with a new resolve. Between timeouts at 4:09 and 1:57, the Savages were 9-1 with only a free throw by Emaleigh Papierski interrupting their streak.

The Lady Dogs caught a break when Clark fouled out for the Savages, but the clock was too sparse for a comeback.

Weber led in points with 10, including two triples, Camilletti nine, Gumber five, Tiffany Hildebrandt four, Jaci McDiffett three, Papierski and Quinn Pint two each and Kinlie Brennise one.

Gumber also led the team in rebounds with 10.

Though they had limited time to record stats, reserve players Josie Timmer, Brittnee Meats and Stephenie Swindler hit the court in the final minutes.

Swindler noted that heading straight into a varsity game — a playoff game to boot — was a far different experience than regular season games where she got to warm up in JV.

“Glad I got some playing time,” Swindler said. “The trouble I had struggled with was not engaging myself in the game before I went in, but once you get focused you’re fine.”

Timmer admitted she was a little disappointed getting minimal playing time her senior year, though the excursion to state was an excellent way to cap off the season.

“It was a really nice experience, and I’m happy I got to have it with all these girls, that’s what matters,” she said. “I’ve been playing with these girls since seventh-grade and AAU, so it’s been great for all of us to grow and spend time together.”

Fellow seniors McDiffett, Gumber and Camilletti were also emotional about the conclusion.

“We gave it our all knowing it was our last game,” Camilletti said.

The journey that began with summer team sessions and November practices is one that the senior Bulldog said she could see evolving step by step.

“All the girls stepped up, and when we started going upward in our season, that’s when our defense really improved, and it was fun to see how much all the girls did,” Camilletti said. “You could see how much everyone got better, but it goes by fast.”

Coach Kenley Nebeker said he was proud of the team’s persistence in the postseason, even when circumstances were against them. And he’s already looking forward to working with returning players for the years to come.

“Can’t wait for this summer,” he said.