Moffat County girls hoops looks toward postseason, boys put up fight in Steamboat |

Moffat County girls hoops looks toward postseason, boys put up fight in Steamboat

Moffat County senior Cayden King rushes for the basket against Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 in Craig.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

While the season is coming to an end for one Moffat County basketball team, the other is feeling revitalized heading into a potential new slate of games.

The Bulldog hoops squads had an energetic evening Tuesday, Feb. 14, with rivalry matchups with the Steamboat Springs Sailors. After taking a defeat in Steamboat at the end of January, the MoCo boys were ready to put up a win against the Sailors, but Steamboat pushed ahead in the final minutes of the back-and-forth contest to win 34-28.

MoCo was disappointed, but the boys were impressed with their near-upset against the top team in the 4A Western Slope League.

“It was a battle. It was way closer than last time,” Bulldogs junior Hudson Jones said. “We sweated too much. We’ve really got to work on having fun and actually playing the game than being stressed and not having any confidence.”

The girls game had a much different energy as the Bulldogs led the entire night and won 56-18. Senior Jadence Vasquez noted that the team has been focusing on positive terms during practices.

“We have a wall of words we go by, like ‘determined’ and ‘conquer,’ and it reminds us to be the best we can be,” she said. “We went in with a lot of confidence.”

Senior Lizzy LeWarne led scoring with 18 points, while fellow senior Cayden King was close behind with 15. Junior Quincy Lowe put up 10.

Coach Seth Watson noted that a trio of three-pointers by King and Lowe was a positive sign the Bulldogs are improving with their outside shooting.

“We haven’t really translated shooting into games as much as I’d like, but they’re great in practice, so it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “When we get into the state playoffs, we’ll need to be good inside and outside.”

With a healthy lead, Watson put more the bench in during the final frame.

“About six minutes in the fourth, I put the future in,” he said. “I didn’t want to risk any injuries.”

Bulldog basketball will host its final games of the regular season Saturday afternoon, Feb. 18, with Rifle. Senior night ceremonies will be part of the day.

The game with the Bears is likely to be the final game for the boys, whose 6-16 record puts them in the high 30s of the CHSAA RPI standings that determine state playoff placement. With no district tournament to qualify teams for the postseason, being among the top 32 will make all the difference.

Picking up their 11th win Tuesday, the Bulldog girls are all but guaranteed to make it into the playoffs. The biggest question is whether they’ll host a home game, as they currently sit on the cusp of the top 16 in RPI.

Watson said the team has been building momentum in recent weeks with a 62-49 win Feb. 10 on the road against Summit and a close contest against WSL leader Delta last Saturday at home where Watson saw great improvement.

“It was good for their confidence to be right in that game,” he said. “We lost by 30 to them about a month ago, so that’s a huge turnaround.”

Lowe said she has seen a significant jump in the level of play on the court too.

“Coming from the very beginning of the year, we’re a completely different team,” she said. “It’s more fun, and we’ve learned who’s strong at what and how we can manipulate that into winning games that we might have not won at the beginning of the season. We’re very determined.”

For Vasquez and the other upperclassmen, making the final weeks count is crucial.

“Watson has really hammered it in our heads that we can be much more than we were,” she said. “That’s a big thing for us.”

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.