Ashlee Hafey was ready to head home from the district tournament when she got the news. The senior had been recognized as one of the top players in the Western Slope League.
"I guess I was a little surprised," she said. "But it was exciting to get to stay and be recognized."
The announcement of the all-league basketball teams traditionally comes after the district championship games. League coaches meet the week before the tournament to vote on their selections.
Hafey and junior Brandie Telfer represented Moffat County on the girls' side, while seniors Anthony Loughran and Cody Palmer were chosen for the boys.
Hafey was a first-year starter for the Bulldogs after backing up two-time WSL player of the year Laurel Mortensen.
"She had some big shoes to fill," coach Craig Mortensen said. "She did everything in her ability to fill them."
Hafey led the team in assists and had the main responsibility of running the floor. It kept her from scoring a lot of points, but it didn't keep her from catching the coaches' attention.
"Coaches recognized how hard she worked," Mortensen said. "Scoring wasn't her first thought and that selflessness was important for us this year."
On the receiving end of many of Hafey's no-look passes was Telfer. The league's leading scorer, Telfer finished the season averaging more than 18 points -- finishing in the top 10 of Class 4A.
"Brandie's hard work has taught her where to be at the right time," Mortensen said. "She went into every game with everybody concentrating on her and she still scored."
Mortensen said one of the best-played games for Telfer during the season was when Moffat County defeated Grand Junction Central in overtime. Telfer scored 28 points in the victory over the Class 5A school.
Three underclassmen scored more points than Telfer this year in the state. So next year she will be one of the top returning scorers in Class 4A.
On the boys' side the two Moffat County selections were awarded for similar reasons as the girls. One player was awarded for the unselfish things that might not show up on paper and the other earned the honor by leading the team in nearly every other aspect.
Palmer was the Bulldogs' defensive stopper.
"I don't think anybody Cody was assigned to scored their average this year," coach Mike LeWarne said. "He played nightmarish defense every night."
Palmer's eight points per game also helped on the other side of the ball.
"When honors are usually based on offense its nice to be recognized for defensive efforts," Palmer said. "I went in every night wanting to shut down the team's best guard and coaches must have noticed."
When Palmer got a steal, Loughran was often there to finish the play. As a four-year varsity player, Loughran's last point as a Bulldog was his 1,000th. With a scoring average of more than 16 points per game, Loughran was in the top 20 in Class 4A scoring.
"Anthony led us in nearly every category," LeWarne said. "Sometimes this year he was our team."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 970-824-7031 ext 211 or firstname.lastname@example.org