There are not too many things that Moffat County High School boys basketball coach Mike LeWarne will get up to do at 7 a.m. in the summer. He will get up for basketball. LeWarne and nearly 25 MCHS basketball players are participating in camp this week in preparation for a summer full of games.
"The most important thing for those guys is to get court time," LeWarne said. "Anymore these days, a high school team has to spend time playing together in the summer if it wants to keep with the competition."
LeWarne points to '02 state champion Montezma-Cortez as a model of summer success.
"Cortez was out playing 100 games in the summer," he said. "It made a talented group of players into a great team."
The second-year head coach sees a talented group of players on the floor for him this summer as well. Among them are sophomores Kevin Loughran and Derek Duran who will no longer have to take the floor with the chants of "freshmen, freshmen, freshmen." They've got a year of experience at the varsity level now.
"There's no doubt we'll have an outstanding sophomore class," LeWarne said. "We have the ability to have some battles between good players in practice from all classes."
The summer season unofficially started Friday as the Moffat County summer tournament tipped off at 8 a.m.
Assistant coach Jeff Simon organized the tournament and said that schools were bringing 24 teams to Craig Friday and Saturday.
"With round robin pool play teams we're expecting to get at least five games," he said.
"We originally hoped to make the tournament a fund-raiser for the program," Simon said. "But after paying for everything it didn't quite work out that way."
The Bulldogs hoped to raise money for a camp at the University of California-San Diego later this summer. The plans for the camp are still in the works and LeWarne said that they would know by the end of the weekend if it would happen.
In the meantime, Moffat County has three teams in this weekend's tournament.
"We have about seven guys on a team so it gives everyone a chance to play," LeWarne said. "It's not really about teaching our system this summer, it's about working on form and playing some hoops."
This weekend's tournament will conclude with the last game at 8 p.m. Saturday. Games are at MCHS and Craig Middle School.
After the tournament, the younger Bulldog players will head to a camp at Adams State College Monday.