Quick start lifts Tigers past Moffat in first home game

The Moffat County girls basketball team didn’t get much of a feeling out process.

Tuesday night at Grand Junction High School, before they could barely break a sweat, the Bulldogs went from having their starters introduced to trailing Grand Junction 16-1 midway through the first quarter.

Although they slowed down from the frantic scoring pace, the Tigers (7-4, 0-0 Southwestern League) still pulled off a 45-34 victory.

“We were playing the way we know we can,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “But it’s hard to sustain that level for an entire game.”

Part of the Tigers’ early momentum might have been because of Tuesday night’s game being the first home game for the Tigers. Grand Junction had played 10 straight road games.

“All day we were excited to play,” Tigers guard Stephanie Drake said. “We had so many away games, and we finally got a home game where all our friends could cheer us on.”

Moffat County was able to work its way back into the game by taking advantage of Grand Junction’s aggressiveness. The Tigers found themselves in the foul trouble as Grand Junction had already committed 10 fouls with more than five minutes remaining in the second quarter. With a slowed tempo, Moffat County whittled the Tigers’ 15-point lead to 28-20 at halftime.

“We had to grind it out,” Provenza said. “That’s where you have to tell the kids it’s not going to be easy, and I think they realized that after the first six minutes were over.”

The Bulldogs came out strong in the second half, as Amanda Snyder’s lay-up cut the lead to six at 30-24. Grand Junction responded, going a run to end the quarter and extending the lead back to double-digits.

“We got a little flighty at times, but when we needed to pull it together, we did,” Provenza said. “We picked it up on the defensive end and really did a good job.”

The Tigers controlled the game despite having to manage the minutes of starting guard Jamie Derrieux, who was suffering from an illness. Derrieux is one of the Tigers’ leading scorers this season, but couldn’t play more than three or four minutes at a time.

“Jamie was sicker than a dog,” Provenza said. “Every time she left the floor she went to throw up, she was that sick.”

Derrieux managed to score nine points. The Tigers were led by Fawn Brady’s 13 points. Brady also added four assists.

“Fawn is capable of scoring against any team we play,” Provenza said. “She’s starting to see the floor so well, and right now she’d rather get a great assist than a good basket.”

Grand Junction plays this weekend at Montezuma-Cortez and Durango. Although no SWL coach looks forward to the trip to the four corners, Provenza said he’s excited to have it early in league play.

“I’ll thrilled we go down there first and get them early,” Provenza said. “We have healthy kids who aren’t too sick, tired or hurt.”


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