Moffat County’s Bryant Carlson named Conference Player of the Year |

Moffat County’s Bryant Carlson named Conference Player of the Year

Moffat County junior Bryant Carlson drives to the hoop during a game against Rifle on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. Carlson was selected Conference Player of the Year for the 4A Western Slope League.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

The final record wasn’t what the Moffat County boys basketball team was hoping to see, but with a particularly big honor at the end of the season, next year already looks promising.

Junior Bryant Carlson was named Conference Player of the Year for the 4A Western Slope League, which his father and coach Mark Carlson announced Monday, March 6, during awards night for the Moffat County boys hoops program.

Mark noted that it’s been a long time since a MoCo player was recognized with the distinction.

“I think 2002 was the last time this happened,” he said. “You don’t usually see that with a team that has the record that we had.”

The Dogs finished 7-16 overall and 5-9 in league play, and Moffat County ranked seventh among the eight 4A Western Slope schools. Even so, Bryant had a standout season as the Bulldogs’ leading scorer with 312 points, ranking him second in the league with an average of 14.2 per game.

A 32-point scoring spree against Middle Park was among his highlights this year, and Bryant led the squad in assists (70) and steals (39).

The Bulldogs point guard also drew a lot of fouls and was the team’s most efficient player at the free throw line, making 76% of his free throws and tying for second in the league with 68 makes.

Mark said there was little debate during the league coaches’ meeting.

“I had one coach tell me there wasn’t another kid that they had to have a gameplan for like they did him. That’s pretty awesome to hear,” Mark said. “Maybe it’s because I’m his father, but I’ve seen the hard work. I’ve seen the time and effort.”

He added that the team played a big part in Bryant earning the recognition.

Moffat County basketball players Bryant Carlson, left, and Cort Murphy display their All-Conference certificates Monday, March 6. Carlson was named First Team and Murphy Honorable Mention for the 4A Western Slope League.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

“I promise you, Bryant doesn’t get this award without you,” Mark told his players. “Since you guys were in fifth-grade or sixth-grade, you guys have been pushing each other to get better … This award goes to this team, because without you, he doesn’t get it. It also shows that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve something.”

During the 4A WSL meeting, Bryant was also selected first team all-conference, while senior Cort Murphy was named honorable mention.

Mark noted that Murphy was recovering from a football injury at the start of the year and missed several games midseason with an ankle issue, and although his stats took a hit, he remained one of the Dogs’ most tenacious players on the court.

From left, Moffat County basketball players Zaylan Kirby, Jonny Lopez, Cort Murphy, Evan Beaver, Hudson Jones and manager Mara Beckett display their Academic All-State certificates Monday, March 6.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Murphy, Jonny Lopez, Zaylan Kirby, Evan Beaver, Hudson Jones and manager Mara Beckett each took home academic first team all-state honors for their diligence in athletics and schoolwork.

Mark also highlighted the five seniors — Murphy, Lopez, Austin Robinson, Boden Reidhead and Marcos Romero — for their leadership throughout the season, presenting them with basketballs with gametime photos throughout the year.

“They were a huge example to these younger guys, and they’re going to be missed next year with their hard work and dedication,” Mark said.

From left, Moffat County basketball seniors Cort Murphy, Jonny Lopez, Boden Reidhead and Marcos Romero display their specialized senior swag Monday, March 6. They and fellow senior Austin Robinson received the gear as part of an awards banquet.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press
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