Up from the depths

Bulldogs' early 8-1 record tallied with five different starting lineups

Through nine games, the Moffat County High School girls basketball team is 8-1.

That statistic, however, tells one part of the story.

All those games were on the road, but more impressive to Bulldog coach Craig Mortenson is the number of different starting lineups he's used.

Five different lineups to be exact.

"We've got some new players that are stepping in and are helping us out who were on the JV team last year," he said, pointing out the play of Amy Dilldine, Desirae Pearcey, MacKenzie Maneotis and Eddie Hutton. "We've actually got pretty good depth in that we can rotate some players in who can give us some quality time on the court and contribute in a lot of different ways."

As the Bulldogs have overcome injuries, the starting lineup has stabilized during the past couple of games, with seniors Ashleigh Mann and Cayla Mane-

otis, juniors Jorgiea Raft-

opoulos, Markie Workman and Angela Charchalis being penciled in.

Raftopoulos had to overcome an early season ankle injury, Mann missed the Vernal, Utah, tournament, Workman became ill in Vernal and missed two games,

and Mann came into the season recovering from knee surgery.

"That's why I say these other kids have filled in great," the coach said. "... All of our subs except Eddie Hutton has started a game for us."

Mortensen said it was a safe assumption that the recent starting lineup would again get the nod when Moffat County resumes play Jan. 5, when Glenwood Springs comes to town for the Bulldogs' home opener.

"But nothing is written in stone, either," he said of the starting lineup. "We like our practices to be a little competitive, and if somebody is playing better or playing well that week, (a change could happen). And sometimes you need a spark with bringing people off the bench."

With a couple of weeks off for Christmas break, Mortenson can reassess where his team is at, heading into the second half of the season. And one place he can look is the Bulldogs' recent second-place finish at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona, where MCHS played teams from California and Oregon.

The tournament showed Mortenson "that we're a pretty good team, but we have some areas that we need to improve on," he said.

"One of the (areas to improve) is when we're

playing really good teams we have to do better at taking care of the basketball, turnover wise. Each possession has to be like a prized possession."

Still, with the second half of the season looming, the coach is pleased with his team's play so far.

"When you come out 8-1," Mortenson said, "I think that we can say that's been successful and positive."

Jerry Raehal can be reached at 503-824-7031, ext. 204, or at jraehal@craigdailypress.com

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