Moffat County hoops fights through league leading into rivalry game
With a tough set of weekend games behind them, the Moffat County basketball teams are preparing for opponents that take on a whole new significance this season.
The Bulldogs will face Steamboat Springs on the road Friday night, Jan. 27, and it’s the first time since 2012 that the two schools are in the same league, as the Dogs rose into the 4A classification this winter.
Though the Sailors have routinely tipped off against MoCo athletes in the past decade, this is the first time in a long time the U.S. Highway 40 rivals will be competing once on each team’s home court.
Going into the game, the boys hoops team saw positive results over the weekend, as the Bulldogs split a two-day stretch. The Friday, Jan. 20, win was a needed one and the first victory the MoCo boys have seen on their own floor.
The 53-42 win over Summit saw the Bulldogs leading the Tigers throughout the night — ahead 24-16 at halftime — with both teams gaining momentum in the last eight minutes, as the Dogs narrowly outscored the Tigers 20-17 in the fourth quarter.
Senior Boden Reidhead had a breakout game with 13 points, tying junior Bryant Carlson. Reidhead also led in steals with four, while a strong rebounding night all around saw senior Marcos Romero gain 10 boards with eight for junior Hudson Jones.
The momentum nearly carried over into the next day as the Bulldogs took the bus south. However, a game in Delta remained just out of their grasp, as the Panthers won 68-64.
Coach Mark Carlson said the loss could have been a win, though it was nonetheless indicative of strong play. Bryant Carlson put up 22 points, Jones 15 and Romero 13.
While the MoCo boys powered through their games, the Bulldog girls struggled against two of the 4A Western Slope League’s stronger schools. Summit stymied the Bulldogs’ shooting in a 36-29 loss. MoCo seniors Lizzy LeWarne and Cayden King each added eight points in the difficult night.
The next day wasn’t much better as Delta defended their home court fiercely, crushing Moffat 65-32. LeWarne scored 11 and junior Quincy Lowe nine in the effort.
Coming off the losses, coach Seth Watson said it’s a matter of “continuing to build on what’s been established.”
“(We will) continue on working on our defense, which is our current strength,” he said. “Our main focus will be on the offensive side of the ball — working to improve the flow, spacing and getting the looks we want in the half court offense. Our resilience is being tested right now, but I believe in the girls to work hard and improve because that’s what they have done for me every day.”
The upside for the 5-7 Moffat County girls is that they likely have a breather coming up.
Whereas the Summit and Delta girls are each undefeated in league games, the 5-9 Steamboat girls have yet to see a win in the conference. The greater test for MoCo will be the following day in Rifle before restarting the league cycle.
As for the 4-10 Bulldog boys, they will play 0-14 Rifle on Saturday, Jan. 28, after facing the Sailors, who are 9-5 overall and 6-0 in the league. Expecting an energetic evening, coach Carlson said his players are ready for it.
“We’re just continuing to build on our defense and preparing to play a Steamboat team that will get after it on defense,” he said.
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