By DAVID PRESSGROVE
Craig was the host city for a boys AAU basketball tournament March 14 and 15 and this weekend the girls are taking over the gyms of Craig.
Teams in four age groups start play at 5 p.m. today in both Craig Middle School and the Moffat County High School gyms.
According the Craig's seventh-grade coach Rod Scott, there are approximately 20 teams participating in the tournament from the fifth-grade to the eighth-grade level.
"AAU competition is good for these girls because it gets them to travel and see teams they might not have faced in their normal school competition," he said. "The girls have learned that there is a higher level of competition than what they see in their school league."
Both the seventh- and eighth-grade teams went undefeated in their school seasons but it has been a different story in AAU. After a tough go in a Wyoming tournament, where eighth-grade coach Matt Ray said, "It was pretty ugly," the eighth-grade team went 1-2 in a tournament in Rifle and the seventh graders finished third with a 3-2 record.
"It's a surprise for these girls at first to get such good competition," said Scott, who had been involved in the AAU program in Craig for nine years. "But it makes them better and I think you can see at the high school level it is starting to pay off."
As far as competition goes for this weekend's tournament, the younger age groups have three or four teams coming in to play, while the eighth-grade team has nine in its bracket.
The seventh- and eighth-grade tournaments are bracketed for teams to play at least one game Friday and Saturday.
"We're coming along as a team," Ray said. "It will be interesting to see how we can keep improving this weekend."