Craig It was easy to see the disappointment of Steamboat Springs post Brienna Combs as she made her way back to the bench Tuesday night.
Her normally bright eyes tried to hold back the tears after suffering a 49-38 loss to the Moffat County Bulldogs.
"After we lost to Rifle, we really wanted to come in here and win," Combs said. "We gave it our all, but we just couldn't take advantage of the situation."
Steamboat had fought valiantly for three quarters in the Moffat County gym affectionately known as the Dog House. But in the end, the Bulldogs used pin-point passing and a quick backside set to exploit a tired-down Sailors defense. Steamboat was outscored in the final period 15-7 as the Bulldogs rolled to 3-0 in league play and 9-1 overall. The loss dropped Steamboat to 2-2 in the league and 6-4 overall.
Following the game, a drained coach Bruce Alston tried to find a silver lining as he stood in the hallway outside the visitors locker room at the Moffat County High School.
"I think I waited to long to sub. Their (the starters) tanks were empty coming down the stretch," Alston said. "Still, I'm proud of the way our players performed. We may not have won the game, but our kids keep improving from day to day and week to week. This is a better team than we had just two weeks ago, and who knows, maybe we will be even better when we play Moffat County again in two weeks."
While Alston said his players' physical states may have contributed to the loss, he wasn't taking anything away from a talented Bulldog squad following the loss.
"They just plain beat us tonight," Alston said. "They are very well coached and have a really strong group of kids."
Leading the way for Moffat County was Jessica Norman, who had 10 points. Katie Telfer added nine and Laurel Mortensen netted eight. Seniors Emily Mortensen scored seven points and Ashleigh Gregg chipped in three.
Combs exploded for 17 points in the game, hitting seven out of 11 shots from the field. She also knocked down three foul shots. Natalie Muth added 11 in the losing effort by hitting five out of 12 shots from the field, including a 3-pointer.
Moffat County coach Craig Mortensen said the key to his team's win was being able to get the ball inside in the final quarter.
"We were moving the ball well most of the game and in that final quarter we just started to find some openings," Mortensen said.