After a long night, Moffat County basketball splits with Grand Junction Central |

After a long night, Moffat County basketball splits with Grand Junction Central

Bulldogs were stranded in Granby overnight due to road closures following heavy snowfall

Moffat County junior Halle Hamilton puts up a 3-point shot Saturday against the Grand Junction Central Warriors as teammates and fans react in the stands. Warrior defender Alex Wagner puts up a hand to defend Hamilton's shot. (Max O’Neill / Craig Press)

After a mid-afternoon arrival back into Craig following a night stranded in Granby due to heavy snowfall and road closures, the Moffat County girls and boys basketball teams split Saturday’s nonleague matchup with the visiting Grand Junction Central Warriors at MCHS Saturday evening.

The Bulldogs girls fought hard but ultimately dropped a 57-53 decision in overtime, while the Bulldog boys cruised to a 48-34 win, staying unbeaten on the year.

Moffat County was originally scheduled to be the site of four games Saturday starting with the girls’ junior varsity game at 10:00 a.m. However, due to a blizzard and the closure of the roads through Rabbit Ears Pass, the teams were stuck in Granby after their wins against Middle Park Friday night.

The teams stayed at the River Run RV Resort in Granby, according to MCHS Athletic Director Jeremy Cheuvront.

With sleep schedules thrown off, the Bulldogs had to figure a way to get up and going for Saturday’s matchup with the Warriors.

Moffat County arrived home around 1 p.m. Saturday and tipped off at around 3:30 p.m., while the boys arrived in Craig around 2 p.m. and tipped off at almost 6:00 p.m., marking a long two days of basketball and travel. The turnaround was so tight that girls coach Eric Hamilton instructed his team to go home, clean up and immediately come back.

Following tipoff of the girls’ game, Moffat County raced out to a 17-8 lead against the visiting Warriors. The Bulldogs would run out of steam after a strong first quarter, though.

The Bulldogs, who have struggled all season in the second half of games, came out sluggish and exhausted in the third quarter, allowing the Warriors to erase a 28-22 lead with a 7-2 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Down the stretch the Bulldogs couldn’t hold onto a lead, as the fourth quarter ended tied at 48-48.

Knowing that they’d just come off of a long two days of travel, the extra session was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome as the Warriors outscored Moffat County 9-5 in overtime to grab the 57-53 win, dropping Moffat County to 2-2 on the year.

Saturday’s game against the Warriors ended a stretch that saw the team play a tough three games in three days, with one unexpected layover. The fact that his team fought through the exhaustion was something that made Hamilton very proud as a coach.

“They really gutted it out. I’m really proud of them, the way they played today, after the last three days,” Hamilton said. “They showed a lot of heart tonight.”

The team gained camaraderie from going through the three-game stretch and being snowed in together, Hamilton said, which is something that both junior Halle Hamilton and senior Amber Salazar agreed with their coach on.

“I mean I don’t think it effected us much in the long run. It was really fun; we can’t really change the weather,” Salazar said. “We didn’t really have a choice and we just had to go with what they gave us. I think we made the best of it.”

The team now has four days off until they hit the road to take on the Montrose Indians Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m., The four days off is very much needed, according to head coach Eric Hamilton.

“The girls are super tired. I’m tired. So, they’re going to sleep like babies tonight. Sunday off, we’ll take it easy on Monday and then we gotta get back to work, so two big road games next week,” Hamilton said. “We gotta go back to work.”

Bulldog boys stay undefeated with win over Warriors

Following up a tough loss by the Bulldog girls, things started off slow for the Bulldog boys Saturday night at MCHS, as Moffat County found itself trailing 13-10 after one quarter of play against the visiting Grand Junction Central Warriors.

It took a bit for the Bulldogs to find their legs, but when they did they pulled away from the Warriors coming out of the halftime break, winning the last two quarters by a combined 31-15 to cruise to the 48-34 win, remaining unbeaten on the year.

Against the Warriors, Moffat County was led for the second consecutive game on the score sheet by senior Wesley Counts’ 22 points. Counts now has back-to-back 22-point efforts, something that head coach Steve Maneotis highlighted post game.

The fact that his team was able to come away with the win after the late night is something that makes Maneotis extremely proud.

“There is nothing more proud of. People don’t understand, it was a tough trip going over there and getting off the bus and playing in that environment over there with the mask rules and the goggles for coaches,” Maneotis said.“ It was a crazy night; go up by 15 down there and kind of go flat. But again, good teams find ways to respond to runs and finish games. That’s what we did up there last night in Middle Park and then you walk outside and it is a mess.

“I literally did not go to sleep until 5 a.m. this morning. These guys were tired, so for them to come into our gym, the drive that we had to come here…they were tired and they responded and I couldn’t be more proud of a group of unselfish teammates that we have in this team right now.”

The boys team is back in action in four days like the girls team but they have the No. 5 team in the state to contend with in the Montrose Indians.

The fact that they have those four days off is a relief to Counts whose sleep schedule took a hit with the lack of a return trip last night.

“It definitely feels good, I mean last night was exhausting. We had to stay in Middle Park because Rabbit Ears was closed and it was kind of hard for everybody to come in here and play basically right off the bus,” Counts said. “But I’m just really proud that everybody stepped up and played hard.”

Tipoff between the unbeaten Bulldogs (3-0) and the No. 5 Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Montrose on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

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