When planning the schedule for the '02-'03 basketball season, Moffat County High School girls basketball coach Craig Mortensen had one thing in mind -- keep the small schools out. As a result of that plan, the girls travel east to Longmont today and Greeley Friday for games against newly established 4A schools Silver Creek and Northridge.
"I knew the Northridge coach from when he and I were both boys coaches," Mortensen said. "When I scheduled with him, he also found the Silver Creek game."
The schools signed a one-for-one deal with both teams traveling to Craig next year for games.
The trip provides a unique experience for the athletes as they will stay with Northridge players tonight before their game against the Grizzlies.
"It seems a little weird that we're staying with the girls we play against the next day," said senior Jeni Jones. "But at least I have a teammate staying with me."
Following the Northridge game, the girls will start Christmas early with a gift exchange with their hosts.
"This is definitely something new for us," said senior Amanda Tomlinson. "It probably is our longest road trip though, so it should be fun."
The Bulldogs face a 2-1 Silver Creek team that they don't know much about except that it lost to a team that lost to Steamboat Springs.
"Both schools are relatively new and we haven't faced them during the high school season," Mortensen said. "We played Northridge this summer, but that is about the extent of our scouting report."
The Grizzlies are 1-3 with this being the first year that are seniors at the new school. Mortensen said he remembered they had a good guard in the summer meeting but said that was all he knew about the Grizzlies.
"We're not going to worry about their style too much," he said. "We still need to worry about making some baskets ourselves."
The coach and the Bulldog players both agreed that the learning and developing processes are still underway in the young season.
"We need to work more on distributing the scoring," said senior Kate Schafer.
"There is chemistry developing on the court that gets better every game," Tomlinson said. "We're still working out the kinks."
Mortensen said the Bulldogs have been working on different player combinations throughout the week, hinting that some younger players could see some more playing time.
"We have to find more balance offensively and we're getting other players involved in practice so they can be ready to play with the varsity," he said. "Bottom line is that we need to hit more shots because, against good teams, we can't win without a perimeter game."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.