Depending on who shows up, girls team still in title race

The target is off the back of the Moffat County High School girls basketball team.

Whether that's a good thing is yet to be determined.

"There's less pressure because we're not the hunted," coach Craig Mortensen said. "But I don't think we'd complain if we were in first."

The Bulldogs have won four consecutive Western Slope League titles but, at 4-2, are currently behind undefeated Rifle.

"In several games we haven't played well for at least one quarter," said senior Ashlee Hafey. "We have to put things together and be more consistent."

But consistency is a hard thing to define for the Blue and White. In the Bulldogs' loss to Steamboat Springs, sophomore Brandie Telfer scored 21 of the Bulldogs' 37 points. Then in the loss to Rifle the rest of the team contributed while Telfer only scored 13 of Moffat County's 36 points. Against Battle Mountain, the problem was defense. The Huskies had 17 of their 35 points in the first quarter.

Mortensen acknowledged is was hard to fix a problem when it deals with inconsistent inconsistencies.

"If I could figure out what was wrong we'd have a better record," Mortensen said. "They're not always the same thing."

One variable the Bulldogs have going for them the second time around in league play, which starts Friday against Palisade, is the home-court advantage. The Bulldogs are 11-1 at home the last two years and have four of six games in Craig the rest of the way. Two of those are against the teams who beat them.

"Rifle and Steamboat are good," Hafey said. "But I think they're beatable."

The Sailors are also 4-2 and hold the tie-breaker against Moffat County because of their, 39-37, last-second victory in Steamboat. The loss gave the Bulldogs a two-game losing streak in conference play. Considering the Bulldogs had won more than 30 consecutive regular season league games a losing streak isn't common.

The Bulldogs hope by the time the second half of the WSL season is over they'll have a new winning streak established.

"We're still learning as a team," Mortensen said. "It's a matter of time and growing up."

Hafey hopes that she and her fellow guards can take some pressure off their teammates on the inside.

Telfer scored 26 and 36 against Palisade and Delta respectively the first time around. It is probably a good bet that those teams will be trying to stop her more this weekend.

"We need to start hitting some 3s to open it up," Hafey said. "Everybody is collapsing on Brandie and Erin to challenge us to shoot."

Those efforts from the outside will begin at 6 p.m. Friday against Palisade in Craig.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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