No shock: Moffat County girls basketball sweeps White River Electric Cowboy Shootout
Moffat County High School girls basketball players are all charged up for the season to come after their first week of competition.
Lady Bulldogs are 3-0 after their opening weekend, winning the championship game Saturday in Meeker’s White River Electric Cowboy Shootout.
MCHS swept the series, capped off with a 52-30 victory over Longmont Christian.
As with their first two games in the tournament, Lady Dogs took a quick lead in the first quarter, up 17-10 against the Warriors, staying in front in the second period for a 30-15 halftime total.
A 12-6 third quarter led into another single-digit period for the Warriors, as the Bulldogs put up 12 points to Longmont’s 9 in the final eight minutes.
As one of the larger schools in the event, head coach Jim Loughran wasn’t shocked that MoCo had a bit of an advantage, which was combined with the effort he already expected out of his athletes.
The final game saw Halle Hamilton put up 19 points, double digits in each round, to ensure a spot on the All-Tournament Team, though it was freshman Cayden King who was voted Most Valuable Player for the tourney.
In addition to a scoring spree during Lady Dogs’ 53-11 rout of Mancos on Thursday, King led the squad with 21 points in Friday’s semifinals 60-35 victory over Soroco.
As a post player and the youngest of the group, King credited teammates with creating plenty of transitional opportunities during the three-day stretch.
“We all got a lot of steals and were able to move the ball up the court pretty quickly,” she said. “We moved the ball pretty well, and that’s why we were able to get open and get a lot of shots up. We worked really well as a team. I’ve played with these girls this summer, so it didn’t really feel like we were a new team getting to know each other.”
Loughran agreed that it was work on both sides of the ball that made the Shootout a success.
“Our defense was pretty solid, and that takes a team,” he said. “I look at all of them as really contributing.”
While MCHS girls stayed within a 50-mile radius at Meeker, Bulldog boys had much more travel in store at Centauri’s Mountain Top Classic.
After a 69-29 start Thursday against Sargent, the group had tougher competition the following two days.
Friday saw the Dogs overwhelmed by fouls against the hosting Falcons, with Centauri soaring to a 73-48 win.
“Playing with consistency is what we learned,” coach Steve Maneotis said of his team’s first loss. “We came out sluggish and sloppy. Can’t do that against quality opponents. Tough loss but a valuable lesson going forward.”
Saturday morning with Montezuma-Cortez wasn’t much better, as the Panthers moved to 4-0 for the early season with a 91-62 W, putting the Bulldogs at 1-2.
Though Wesley Counts and Jordan Carlson each put up double-digit scoring in the final match — 12 and 16 points, respectively — the Dogs couldn’t stop an onslaught of outside shooting as Montezuma hit a staggering total of 14 three-pointers.
Maneotis noted 10 triples by Panther captain Teagan Whiteskunk was an effort by the Montezuma coach to break a school record.
Counts was named to the Mountain Top Classic All-Tournament Team.
Moffat County’s junior varsity teams also were in the mix for tournaments, with Bulldog girls JV playing in the second tier of the Cowboy Shootout.
The group went 1-1 for the weekend, falling 32-15 Thursday to Meeker, bouncing back with a narrow 29-28 win over Soroco Friday. The team’s third game against Aspen was cancelled.
Boys JV traveled to Grand Junction for the Central High School Warrior Challenge, finishing 2-1 with wins of 53-38 over Glenwood Springs and 51-39 over Central plus a 41-31 defeat to Palisade.
MoCo C-Teams will travel to Junction Monday and will also be the first Bulldog teams to host home games, bringing in Battle Mountain starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
MCHS varsity teams will stay in tournament mode for another week, with Dec. 12 the start of the Glenwood Springs Demon Invitational.
Both MoCo teams will be paired with Montrose to begin the brackets, and Loughran expects a wholly different level of competition.
“Glenwood will be quite the step up for us,” he said. “We just look forward to trying to better each week.”