Herrera hits late three to give Titans big win over Bulldogs
In what might amount to the game of the year in the 3A Western Slope League, Coal Ridge Titans sophomore guard Brandon Herrera drilled a corner 3-pointer with just over two seconds left in overtime to lead the Titans to a 63-61 win, Thursday, over the visiting Moffat County Bulldogs to kick off 3A WSL play.
Prior to Herrera’s 3-pointer in overtime, the sophomore guard calmly knocked down three free throws with 0.9 seconds on the clock at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
The Titans’ win over the Bulldogs marked the first win over the defending 3A WSL champs under eighth-year head coach Paul Harvey.
Coming into the game the Titans had been 0-7 against the Bulldogs.
“They’re the reigning league champs for us,” Harvey said. “So that was a big win for us to gut it out. It was an ugly win, but I told them that if you can win ugly, it’s a lot more fun to win pretty.”
Herrera led the Titans with 18 points in the two-point win, while senior forward Greyson Keener and junior guard Hunter Gerber added 16 points each in the win.
For Moffat County, Kody Fief led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Keenan Hildebrandt, Brent Cook and Dylan Kincade added 13, 11 and 11 points, respectively.
Early on the Bulldogs controlled the game at both ends of the court, racing out to a 9-3 lead. Following two free throws from Keener and a layup off a steal by senior guard Jake Solinger, the Titans narrowed the lead to 9-7.
Cook answered with a 3-pointer for Moffat County before Herrera stole the ball near mid-court and raced in for an uncontested layup.
Following Herrera’s layup in transition, the Bulldogs went on an 8-2 run to close the quarter, highlighted by the another 3-pointer from Cook and a layup by Bronc Hellander to give the Bulldogs a 20-11 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter both defenses clamped down as just 17 points combined were scored. Fortunately for Coal Ridge, the Titans scored 11 of them to pull within 26-22 at the half, highlighted by a driving layup from Gerber and a deep 3-pointer from Solinger.
Senior forward Dan Schouten hit two of four free throws to close the quarter with the Titans trailing by just four points.
Coming out of the half the Titans caught fire as Keener, Gerber and Herrera took over for Coal Ridge.
Keener started off the second half with a turnaround jumper that drew the foul. The senior forward hit the free throw to pull the Titans within one.
Moffat County then went on a quick 6-0 run to pull ahead, 31-25, behind two buckets from Fief and a free throw from Hildebrandt.
Gerber and senior guard Sawyer Snode knocked down two free throws each to pull with 34-31, midway through the quarter.
After a layup from Kincade put the Bulldogs ahead 36-31, Gerber took over, driving to the basket with ease, drawing the foul. The junior guard sank the ensuing free throw to pull the Titans to within three, 39-36.
Herrera then hit a jumper off of an offensive rebound to pull the Titans within one before Cook drained a deep three from the wing to give the Bulldogs a 42-38 lead before Gerber hit another driving layup to pull the Titans within two, 42-40, heading into the final quarter.
What a quarter it was.
Herrera quickly tied the game for Coal Ridge by stealing the ball off of Fief and racing in for an easy layup.
Gerber hit a deep three following a Kincade layup to give the Titans their first lead of the game, 45-44, but a layup from Fief and a layup from Hildebrandt gave the Bulldogs a 48-46 lead.
Gerber and Dustin Taylor traded rebounds before Keener answered with a putback of his own to tie the game at 50-50.
One of two free throws from Hildebrandt and a layup from Taylor stretched the Moffat County lead to 53-50, but Herrera answered with a 3-pointer — one of his two threes in the game — to tie it up with just over two minutes to go.
Hellander later sank two free throws with 10 seconds to go in the game to give the Bulldogs a 57-54 lead.
That’s when Herrera came up large for the Titans, calmly sinking three free throws after being fouled on a last-second, desperation 3-pointer, tying the game, 57-57, to send it to overtime.
In the extra session, Solinger started out by hitting one of two free throws to give the Titans a 58-57 lead.
Moffat County answered with a huge 3-pointer from sophomore Kasen Brennise, who was making an appearance on varsity following a strong junior varsity game.
Keener then answered with a big layup to tie the game, 60-60. From there, Taylor knocked down one of two free throws for the Bulldogs, setting the stage for Herrera’s late-game heroics.
With time winding down and Moffat trying to run a full court trap, the Titans were able to move the ball up the court to Herrera, who squared up from the right corner and got the game-winning 3-pointer to rattle home, setting off pandemonium in the student section as the Titans celebrated their first victory over Moffat under Harvey.
“I told our guys that the five on the court were going to win it,” Harvey said following the win. “That’s why I was happy Brandon hit that big three and we won it outright, not at the free throw line.”
With the win the Titans move to 2-2 (1-0 3A Western Slope League), while the Bulldogs fall to 1-5 (0-1 3A WSL) on the year.
Coal Ridge will travel to Denver to take on the Rifle Bears, Tuesday, before the Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Lakers game. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Titans girls fall to Bulldogs, 86-28
It was a tough night for the young Coal Ridge Titans girls basketball team as the Moffat County Bulldogs girls basketball team, led by senior guard Leah Camilletti, senior forward Morgan Lawton and junior guard Josey King, took it to the Titans, Thursday, in the 86-28 win on the road.
Holding an 18-4 lead after one quarter, the Bulldogs’ offense started to click as King and Camilletti headed up from outside, which allowed Lawton , forward Mattie Jo Duzik and forward Katia Voloshin to go to work down low.
Two layups from Natalie Dougherty and a layup from Alexys Holder were the only points scored in the second quarter for the Titans, as the Bulldogs took a commanding 42-10 halftime lead.
Coming out of the locker room after halftime, the Bulldogs again took it to the Titans, relying on the halfcourt press to force turnovers before converting them into transition layups.
After three quarters the Bulldogs held a 74-17 lead over the Titans, as Moffat County hit two 3-pointers and converted 13 field goals in the quarter.
Senior guard Jenny Call drilled a 3-pointer for Coal Ridge to start the quarter, while sophomore guard Santana Martinez knocked down four of four free throws in the third.
To start the fourth quarter, Holder knocked down a 3-pointer and junior forward Kaitlyn Harlow hit a jumper, while Call and Martinez hit one free throw each.
Sophomore guard Sam Dunn knocked down a jumper and hit one of two free throws to close out the scoring for Coal Ridge.
For Moffat County, King led all scorers with 21 points, while Camilletti added 16 points. Lawton added 13 points in the win.
For the Titans, Holder finished with seven points, while Martinez added five points. Call and Dougherty added four points each.
Coal Ridge will travel to Denver, Tuesday, to take on the Rifle Bears at the Pepsi Center prior to the Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Lakers game. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
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Area prep basketball teams begin their 2019-20 campaigns with tournament action both home and away this weekend.