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Hotchkiss boys piece together effort for win

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Photo by Eric Goold Gabe Rodriguez (25) handles the ball against a swarm of Eagles in the Hotchkiss win over Caprock Academy. Rodriguez had four points in the win.

The Hotchkiss High School boys' basketball team has already had its fair share of close games this year, so it was nice to get a big win last Saturday.

The Bulldogs got 16 points from Clayton Oxford, Zack Allen chipped in 11 points and eight different Hotchkiss players scored in a 53-32 victory over Caprock.

"Getting a victory is always a good way to start off the second half of the season, especially in league play," Hotchkiss coach Eric Hollembeak said. "We had some kids step up and play pretty well. I'm kind of excited for that."

The Bulldogs started strong and never looked back, taking an 11-4 lead in the first quarter.

"It was definitely nice to get a win," Oxford said after the Bulldogs created turnovers and scored in transition to beat the Eagles. "That's really a big part of winning is turnovers, and then executing your offense more than just jacking up a shot."

Hotchkiss pulled ahead for good with an 18-2 second-quarter performance. Sam Rodriguez had a steal and score, Oxford hit back-to-back jumpers, Will Drbohlav rebounded and scored, and Allen scored inside as the Bulldogs led 29-6 at halftime.

"It was good to get everybody some playing time, some good minutes," Hollembeak said. "We played a pretty decent game. Second half wasn't as good as the first. But that happens sometimes when you get a lead."

Sam Rodriguez had eight points in the win, and Eli Sawatzky threw in seven for the Bulldogs. Gabe Rodriguez scored four, Johnathan Gonzalez recorded three points and Darrin Young had a bucket to round out the scoring for Hotchkiss.

Caprock got active after the second half as Andrew Van Schaick and Nico Bentley made some plays in the third quarter, cutting the Hotchkiss lead to 43-18.

Oxford scored on a baseline drive in the fourth and Sawatzky scored the last bucket of the contest as the Bulldogs prevailed.

"We just weren't as sloppy on offense," Oxford said. "We were more composed with the offense and defense."

The win brought the Bulldogs to 2-6 on the season. Hotchkiss hoped the win would generate some momentum going into last night's rivalry game at Paonia.

"Hopefully our guys had confidence already," Hollembeak said. "We were 1-6 going into this game and very easily we could have been 5-2. It's just a matter of making shots."

Hotchkiss went to Paonia for a 2A District 5 conference game last night.

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