Moffat County hoops stay high in league rankings with wins over Basalt
Whether there was a gap of one day or one week, Moffat County High School basketball teams had some time to mull over recent losses, and the outcome showed athletes know how to bounce back from defeat.
Bulldog basketball swept through the Longhorns during Saturday road games in Basalt, as both boys and girls teams demonstrated their prowess against the 3A Western Slope League opponents.
After taking their first loss to a conference school in Cedaredge a weekend earlier, Lady Dogs reassembled for Basalt, a team which they have never lost to since entering the same league in 2012.
While the matchup between the two in the last eight years has seen MCHS win sometimes by less than 10 and sometimes as much as 80, the latest bout fell somewhere in between.
After leading 16-10 in the first quarter and 21-18 at halftime, the Lady Dogs truly found their flow in the second half — including a 16-4 fourth period with a defensive shutdown — as the Longhorns fell 56-32 to hand MoCo girls their 10th win this season.
The dominant day was a breakout game for Cayden King, who netted her fourth double-double of the season with 21 points — seven for 12 at the foul line — and 13 rebounds, plus eight steals, three blocks and two assists.
Emaleigh Papierski — who notched a double-double the week before against Grand Valley — scored 11 points and seven boards while hitting five of six free throws, while Halle Hamilton had 10 points and six rebounds.
Hamilton, Jacie Evenson and Reese Weber each also lit up from the arc.
Bulldog boys were hit hard earlier in the week against the 4A Summit Tigers, but after being afflicted by sickness against the bigger team, the Dogs were back in control at both levels.
Girls had no junior varsity game against the Longhorns, though boys JV took the W at 63-40 to build up momentum for the day and set the stage for the varsity round, which the Dogs won 60-48.
“We finally looked healthy and played as a team,” said head coach Steve Maneotis. “Very balanced scoring.”
Jordan Carlson put up 18 points, with 11 for Landen Najera, nine for Jerod Chacon, six each for Chris Maneotis and Ryan Peck, and five for Wesley Counts and Myles Simpson.
MCHS girls move to 10-4 and boys 6-8 overall, with both Bulldog squads 4-1 in the WSL standings, in third and second place in their respective leagues.
The Dogs will see different challenges in their forthcoming games on the road Friday against Delta and at home the following day with Aspen.
While the reigning league champion Panthers are vying with Cedaredge for control of the Western Slope rankings, 3-9 Aspen’s last-place status in the conference — giving Gunnison their only win so far this year — won’t make for a very challenging Saturday in Craig.
On the other hand, MoCo boys’ overall record puts them in a comparable situation to Delta, though it’s the Skiers they’ll be watching out for during the weekend, the two teams tied with Coal Ridge for the second spot in the Slope.
With Aspen’s only conference defeat so far to Gunnison, the Bulldogs’ Jan. 17 upset of the Cowboys puts them in prime position to ascend to the top of the standings with wins over both Delta and the Skiers.
MCHS boys will also host their salute to alumni athletes as part of the Aspen games with an afternoon get-together with past players and an honorary ceremony before the varsity game at 5 p.m.