Moffat County hoops teams take first wins of season |

Moffat County hoops teams take first wins of season

Moffat County senior Johnny Lopez goes up for a shot against Central during the Warrior Challenge in Grand Junction on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Facing off against bigger schools this weekend, Moffat County boys basketball played three games at Grand Junction’s Warrior Challenge, while the girls kicked off their season against Eagle Valley.

The MoCo boys had an early start at home on Nov. 29 against Uintah, with the Dogs experiencing a 72-42 loss. They quickly turned the energy around Thursday, Dec. 1, at Central High School and picked up a 50-31 victory over Palisade.

Moffat County senior Marcos Romero and junior Evan Beaver provide lockdown defense against Palisade during the Warrior Challenge.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Bryant Carlson scored a personal best 19 points, while fellow juniors Hudson Jones and Evan Beaver had 13 and nine points, respectively. Beaver also recorded six steals.

Jones and Beaver also led the Bulldogs scoring earlier in the week, with Jones hitting four 3s as part of 14 points against the Utes, while Beaver put up 11. However, the Bulldogs couldn’t keep the momentum for the rest of the tournament and fell 65-40 to Fruita Monument on Friday, Dec. 2, and 55-25 to Central on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Moffat County junior Bryant Carlson goes in for a layup against Fruita Monument during the Warrior Challenge.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

The two Class 5A opponents were expectedly tough, coach Mark Carlson said.

“Central is a very disciplined team (and) Fruita’s big and athletic, so that’ll be a battle when they play each other,” he said.

At 1-3, the Bulldogs’ record isn’t flattering, but Carlson said he would rather have difficult matches early in the season to prepare his athletes for what’s to come.

“You don’t get better beating teams 85-15,” he said. “This is a challenge, and we can grow from this. I gotta do better and they gotta do better.”

The girls basketball team had a longer wait for its first game of the season, and the Bulldogs were ready Saturday afternoon.

The 61-23 victory was a scoring spree for the team’s seniors especially, with 17 points for Cayden King and 13 for Lizzy LeWarne, while nearly everyone on the varsity roster scored at least once. Also, Moffat County’s perimeter shooting was on target with three-pointers by LeWarne, Jadence Vasquez, Emma Tucker, Mena Tucker and Quincy Lowe. At the same time, LeWarne picked up eight rebounds, Brook Wheeler four steals, and King two blocks.

Both boys and girls will be in for solid competition this week with tournament play in Glenwood Springs starting Thursday, Dec. 8. Rather than brackets determining which teams play each other in the Demon Invite, it will be a round-robin format.

The boys will play Class 4A Western Slope League opponent Aspen, followed by Front Range teams Faith Christian and Peak to Peak. The girls will face Glenwood, followed by Palisade and Cañon City.

Facing larger schools is always a concern, and girls coach Eric Hamilton expects every game to be tough.

“Glenwood will be very good, and Cañon City is always good,” he said. “Palisade played us tough last year and had a good JV team. It’s going to be a tough three-game stretch — really looking forward to the challenge.”

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