Junior varsity stands tournament's test

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In the dwindling days of summer basketball, only two Moffat County High School teams found the way to the court last weekend.

The Bulldogs didn't field a varsity team, but did have two junior varsity teams competing at a small home-court tournament Friday and Saturday. No upperclasmen playe on the j.v. teams, but that didn't stop both junior varsity teams from winning three games apiece.

"We had a good field of teams to play against, mainly all junior varsity, but Meeker did bring its varsity team," Coach Blaine Corlett said. "Our boys held their own against all the teams they faced in the tournament, and once again showed that we're progressing on all levels of our team."

The junior varsity teams Moffat County entered in the tournament were more junior than varsity, with one squad being composed entirely of incoming freshman and the other consisting of mainly freshman and sophomores.

The freshmen and sophomores' dedication comes as no surprise to Corlett, since most of them already have a year of Bulldog basketball under their belts. The turnout of incoming freshmen, who are freshly graduated from Craig Middle School, was the bigger surprise to the coach.

Corlett's surprise is because of the amount of commitment the incoming freshmen have put into the program a program they've only been part of for less than a month.

"It's unusual to find the level of commitment in kids who are just getting out of middle school that we have with our incoming freshmen," he said. "I can't really explain why the incoming freshmen have turned out in such numbers this year, but all of them are looking to gain a spot on one of our teams, and are doing what they can this summer to prove it."

Corlett foresees a larger number of more skilled, incoming freshman playing at the junior varsity level during the season, and on the freshman team itself.

"I can see some of these kids getting a chance to work into the system where we lack numbers, so many may be working a backup role on the junior varsity," he said.

One of the driving forces behind the early opportunities the incoming freshman will receive is the amount of seniors that were lost to graduation. A boost in the number of open positions has been created by the graduation of five seniors, which opens the door for the early advancement of younger players.

Friday and Saturday's junior varsity tournament not only put the younger players' skills on display, but marks the near-end of the Bulldog's summer basketball program.

There will be only one more stop for the Bulldogs this summer, and that will be at the Wyoming team camp, which the team will attend July 4.

"We still need to remain sharp going into the team camp, since the camp is almost entirely games," Corlett said. "It should be a challenging and a good end to a successful summer season."

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