The last time most of the members of the Moffat County High School varsity basketball team played together they were winning AAU tournaments across the state in eighth grade. This weekend coach Mike LeWarne started to see some of that ability again.
"Last weekend was an eye opener," he said about the team's performance in Rangley, the first tournament of the summer. "The guys who hadn't played on varsity were a little shell shocked and they were still getting used to playing together."
The Bulldogs are without five seniors from the Class of 2004 who all had significant playing time last year.
The varsity squad is mostly juniors and sophomores, except for one senior and he hasn't played basketball since eighth grade.
Juniors-to-be Derek Duran and Kevin Loughran have played on varsity since their freshman year.
Other juniors-to-be like Jared Homlund and Chance Buckner had some time in the last minutes of last year's games.
Other than that, the Bulldogs are limited in varsity experience.
"We have a lot of guys who are getting their first experience with varsity play this summer," LeWarne said. "They started to adjust and learn how to play in a varsity game this weekend."
Moffat County went 4-2 with losses to Rangely and Meeker and wins against Basalt twice, Rifle and Middle Park.
Friday Rangely won in overtime and Saturday Meeker came from behind in the last half of the second half.
"We didn't hit some key shots in both games," LeWarne said. "But it's good to have those things go wrong now instead of in the season."
The game where shots fell for the Bulldogs was a 41-33 win against Western Slope League rival Rifle. The game was tight until late in the second half when Brady Virden, the Bulldog's only senior next year, hit two 3-pointers.
"I think Brady will be an asset to us down the road," LeWarne said.
"It's going to take a while to get used to the speed of the game again, but he can help us."
The Bulldogs will have a shortened week this week with only two practices.
Next week they'll return to a full schedule that ends with the team's summer camp at Colorado State University.