By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
Healthy, smart and ready to rumble, both the seventh- and eighth-grade basketball teams scored their first two wins of the season.
Both Bullpup teams played at Hayden Friday, and then faced Steamboat Springs in Craig.
"We've got a lot of talent, size and smarts on our team this year," coach Norm Yoast said of his eighth-graders, who were undefeated as seventh-graders.
The eight-grade Bullpups started their season with a 35-23 win over Hayden. The game was a mix of A and B teams, since Hayden didn't have the manpower to support two separate teams.
The 'Pups followed it up Saturday with an 47-21 win against Steamboat Springs' A team, and a 19-12 win against the B team.
"This is probably one of the best all-around teams I've seen come through the middle school," Yoast said. "We've got talent at all of our positions."
The seventh-grade team mimicked the older Bullpups with a 38-26 win at Hayden, and then beat Steamboat Springs 40-20 at home.
"We've got a good balanced attack as a team," coach Brett Speral said. "And we can depend on 10 to 12 points coming off the bench."
Coaches for both teams see their players being grounded in the fundamental of the game, and both attribute much of the players' experience to Moffat County High School coach Blaine Corlett. Corlett has held open gyms all summer, allowing the local youths time to sharpen their skills on the court during the off-season.
"Corlett helped put around 80 games under these guys' belt over the off-season," Yoast said. "They got the chance to go against junior varsity and freshmen, so the experience they bring in is unusual for eighth-graders."
The two teams will continue their season at 4p.m. Friday when they head to Steamboat Springs for their second meeting, and follow up at 9 a.m. Saturday with a home game against Rangely.
And both of these teams are already looking ahead. Both squads have district championships on their minds, not only the coaches but the players.
"We're just playing good basketball," eight-grader Derek Duran said. "We've got a lot of height and speed, and so far we've not met a real hard competitor."
But Yoast still remains realistic in his outlook for the rest of the season.
"These guys should win league, but they shouldn't let the success they've had go to their heads, and shoot themselves in the foot."