For many teams, building a successful program starts at the bottom.
For Moffat County High School's boys and girls basketball programs, it starts with the freshmen.
Freshman boys coach Jamie McAnally's goal for the players is to improve every game.
"It's a goal to learn the system and prepare for the rest of their career at Moffat County High School," McAnally said. "We start them at this level, so by the time they are playing junior varsity or varsity, they can learn to perfect it."
With young, raw talent, McAnally has a chance to mold his players into fundamentally sound players.
Guard Nathan Hill pointed out two strengths he sees from his teammates.
"We're fast, and we can shoot," he said.
Forward Brian Ivy said the freshman program is a stepping stone to the varsity.
"The varsity coaches help us a lot and give us pointers," Ivy said.
But along with every strength comes weakness, and Hill said that when they start getting rushed and pushing passes, they break down.
McAnally said the biggest hurdle he sees is getting players to gel together on the court and to play as one unit, not individual players.
The freshman girls face similar highs and lows as the boys. And girls coach Norm Yoast said getting the girls familiar with the way varsity coach Craig Mortensen runs his program is a top priority.
"We work on the basics, but we also work on Mortensen's program," Yoast said. "We try to emphasize defense and ball control and movement."
Yoast sees his players as hard workers with a few flaws.
"They hustle hard," Yoast said. "But we need to work on defensive control."
In the girls' game against Hayden on Monday night, three of Yoast's players fouled out.
"I want to see us calm down and work on fouls," guard Amanda Snyder said. "They're killing us."
Post player Arylle Rade--macher agreed with Snyder, adding that along with identifying weaknesses, they have to play to their strengths and expectations.
For the girls, a successful varsity year in 2005-06 set the bar high for up and coming players.
"I think, so far, we've done good," Rademacher said. "But it's hard to play up to (varsity's) level."
Both the boys and girls played the Hayden Tigers on Monday night. The girls lost, 46-39, and the boys won, 43-37. The next games for both teams are today in Baggs, Wyo., against Little Snake River Valley High School.
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or email@example.com.