Hotchkiss ended the weekend with a 6-3 overall record after a disappointing 15-point loss to Meeker Friday and a win at Rangely.
The Bulldogs couldn't get traction in Friday's loss to Meeker (4-2 overall, 0-0 2A Western Slope League).
Post Mason Oxford was the sole scorer for the Bulldogs in the opening minutes, dropping three first-quarter lay-ups. Six unanswered points by Meeker left the Bulldogs trailing 6-13 heading into the second period.
The Cowboys opened the second period with another unanswered six points.
Three-point shots by Cody Bartlett and Josh Hardin kept the Bulldogs in the game, and with 50 seconds remaining in the half, Andrew Tiedeman scored a three-point shot to end the half with Hotchkiss trailing, 18-27.
Taylor Schreiner scored his only points of the game on a field goal/free throw combination in the final seconds of the first half.
Hotchkiss trailed by as many as 20 in the second half. Bartlett and Oxford each scored a team-high 10 points for the game.
Hotchkiss hit only 20 percent of its shots, said head coach Kyle Crowder, and that needs to improve. "You can't win a game when your lead scorer scores 10."
Meeker's Alex Smith scored a game-high 12 points, with Jeremy Musgrave contributing nine.
Hotchkiss and Meeker will play a conference game on Feb. 15 at Meeker.
A 17-point fourth period gave the Bulldogs a 39-36 non-conference win Saturday at Rangely (1-6, 1-0).
The Panthers opened with a 20-8 first-period lead, then were held to single-digit scores in each of the remaining quarters of play.
Crowder said he continues to have high expectations from the team. "We still have a few players who aren't quite there yet and are improving," said Crowder. Chris Allen, a 6-foot-4 post, "is just improving all the time," said Crowder of the first-year post and tallest member of the 10-man squad. "It's only a matter of time before he starts. All the basketball he's got is what he's played this year."
Senior Josh Hardin, who returned after missing his junior year, is another inside player. Hardin is paying his dues on the junior varsity squad and has averaged about eight points a game on varsity. He's already making big contributions to the defense.
"Having Josh Hardin come back here was big for us," said Crowder. Hardin was starting quarterback for the Bulldogs this season and has made efforts to increase his foot speed. "The varsity game is just a different speed than what he's seeing in the JV right now," said Crowder. "He's been playing a lot of minutes. He's doing some good things."
Hotchkiss will host two conference games this weekend, beginning with Hayden this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers (6-2, 1-0) are coming off of two, 40-point wins. "That will be a good test for us," said Crowder.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs host Soroco (3-4, 1-1), with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.