Hoopsters play in second summer tourney

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Saturday's tournament sweeps by the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs left Coaches Blaine Corlett and Craig Mortensen pleased, but realistic.

While the basketball teams are showing promise by moving past the loss of their graduated seniors, the underclassmen seem to be fitting into the system well, but the coaches still know it is not the summer that counts.

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Aaron Sanchez set up the offense after driving the ball down the court at the Craig Intermediate School gym. The Bulldogs were forced into the CIS gym since the Future Farmers of America are holding a convention in Moffat County High School's gym.

"If they gave out awards for summer basketball, I'd win Coach of the Year annually," Corlett said, "but the season doesn't count, and you don't take home a state championship in the summer. We're really not concerned with the wins and the losses, for us it's just a time to improve."

Both teams get the chance to remain on the road to improvement starting today.

The Lady Bulldogs travel to Rangely, their second tournament of the summer season.

The tournament is expected to draw 16 teams, mainly from Colorado's Class 2A and 3A schools. The exceptions will be Class 5A Fruita and a team from St. George, Utah.

The girls will send three teams to the tournament, varsity team and the other two made up of underclassmen.

The tournament runs through Saturday, but for the seniors, Friday will be cut short.

"The seniors have ACTs this weekend, so we're going to try and get them out of Rangely by Friday," Mortensen said. "It's good in a way, since it will allow us to work some of the younger girls into the varsity rotation."

Mortensen doesn't view the impending loss of his seniors for the end of the tournament as a negative, instead with the caliber of teams his athletes are playing against, he sees it as another chance for team advancement.

"We've really got a group of girls who want to play and are dedicated to the program," he said. "It's not just the older girls who are pushing themselves, but everyone, and right now we have three or four girls who we need to fit in the varsity rotation. This weekend will give us a better chance to get a look at them."

The boys team travels will be spread across two states on Friday.

Corlett will take one team to the Grand Junction Triangular, where the Bulldogs will be the only Class 4A school in a field of all 5A teams.

Fruita, Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central will be the other teams in the field.

Steve Maneotis, the Bulldogs' junior varsity coach, will escort a team of varsity and junior varsity players to the Cheyenne Central Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The Wyoming-bound Bulldogs will compete in two of the three brackets at the tournament.

The majority of the teams at the tournament are from Wyoming, with only a few squads traveling in from Colorado.

The team will only be short one player as they spread themselves across the Rocky Mountain region. Joe Padon will miss the tournament because of extenuating circumstances.

The varsity team travelling to Grand Junction will be shy one week of practice entering the tournament this Friday. Corlett gave the team the week off to rest before they start into summer workouts.

"The kids have had a lot of basketball the past few weeks, so they need a week off to just be kids," Corlett said. "Once we start working out next Monday, we'll go straight through until July 15. Not long after that, a lot of the kids will start football practice."

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