As the 3A basketball playoff courts shrunk to eight teams each last weekend, he did it without the Moffat County hoops going any further. But the last games of the year brought no less effort to the Bulldog athletes.
The MCHS teams entered the Round of 16 on Friday night in the regional segment of the 3A playoffs, each of them suffering a hard-fought loss to close out the year on the field.
The Bulldog boys had their work cut out for them, placing 29th out of 32 schools in brackets, a ranking that pitted them against Colorado Academy in Denver, which hosted the first round and the Sweet 16 that followed.
After winning the 3A Metro League this season, the 19-3 Mustangs suffered their first losses since December in the district round, falling to both Manual and Faith Christian to finish fourth, although their RPI status did not has not been impacted enough to lose hosting functions.
The Bulldogs, who were also looking to redeem themselves after a 1-2 run in the previous week’s district event, came into the game fairly steadily with a 12-12 first quarter, but things took a turn for the worse. quickly took a turn.
Colorado Academy made an offensive tear, with 23 points, and limited the Dogs to nine to make it a 35-21 half. Forcing numerous turnovers, the Mustangs stayed ahead throughout the third quarter – 57-36 going into the final quarter – and although the MoCo boys sped down the home stretch with a 20-10 final quarter, they fell 67-56.
Seniors Ryan Peck and Logan Hafey led the scoring, largely from three points. Peck hit four triples to add to a personal best 20 points, while Hafey had three outside shots for a total of 15 points.
Sophomore Bryant Carlson and senior Myles Simpson each hit a bucket from the perimeter, with Bryant scoring eight overall and Simpson scoring five. Junior Cort Murphy also scored five goals and senior Jordan Carlson three.
As the season’s leading rebounder, Peck again had the most boards with nine, while Bryant Carlson had eight and Simpson had five. Jordan Carlson added three assists, while senior Nick Crookston outdid himself as the Bulldog big man with a personal best five blocks.
Colorado Academy entered the boys’ Great 8 round with a 58-32 victory over Pagosa Springs.
On the girls’ side, the Colorado Springs Christian School Lions beat Moffat County, as the 22-seeded Bulldogs fell 61-44.
The last time MoCo and Colorado Springs Christian faced off was in the 2018 state semifinals, a year before one of the current seniors started high school. That season, the Lions defeated the Bulldogs 51-30 before finishing the year as state runners-up.
Although the roster is now entirely different, the Lions have proven no less threatening, now 20-4.
“Defensively they were a very tough game for us,” said MCHS coach Eric Hamilton. “I didn’t make the right adjustments at the start, and we just fell too far behind. Our team fought the whole game and never gave up.
In what would be their final outing, Moffat County seniors Halle Hamilton and Rylie Felten each had 12 points, with the majority of Halle’s tally coming from a three-point trio.
Junior Lizzy LeWarne sank one behind the arc as part of her nine points, while sophomores Quincy Lowe and Emma Tucker scored four and three respectively, with senior Reese Weber and rookie Caitlyn Adams on the board with two points each.
End of an era
The regional games marked the final high school hoops event for 10 Bulldog seniors: Peck, Hafey, Simpson, Carlson, Crookston, Weber, Felten, Emma Jones, Jacie Evenson and Hamilton.
Most upperclassmen have been preparing for college since their freshman year and have worked under Bulldog’s two current coaches.
After finishing 10-4 in a cut short 2020-21 season in his first year as girls’ coach, coach Hamilton said he was pleased with the way the players showed their talent over the course of a year. 14-9.
“These girls should be very proud and remember all the positives from this season. They are a top class group on and off the pitch,” he said. reach the Great 8 this year, but there is a lot of pride with this team, and the seniors were everything a manager could ask for and more.”
Although none of the members of the Moffat County women’s program had a losing season in high school, this winter marked a turning point for the men’s team after season records of 6-15, 8-12 and 6- 7 over the past three years. years.
In his first year at the helm of the program, Coach Carlson said he would be happy to finish 13-9 in a year that was the Bulldogs’ first time finishing above .500 since 2015.
“We came back to the playoffs for the first time in about seven years, we reached regionals. We’ve doubled our win total from last season,” Carlson said. “I’m disappointed the season ended in a loss, but we fought back and competed extremely well against the No. 4 team in the state. There were a ton of positives. This year, the boys bonded and played basketball together all season.
Coach Carlson added that he feels confident the athletes will return next winter, although he will miss the seniors.
“They are all like family and I am very close to them,” he said. “I wish them all much success in life and will continue to follow and root for them as they move on to bigger and better things.”