Honors pour in for basketball stars

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It was only a matter of time for the awards to start coming in for the Moffat County girls basketball team.

The Bulldogs earned five Western Slope League honors after winning the league title for the sixth time in seven years.

Leading off the honors for the Bulldogs was senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos. The three-year starter for Moffat County was named the WSL Player of the Year.

During the season, Moffat coach Craig Mortensen credited Raftopoulos with doing the little things that helped the Bulldogs finish the season undefeated.

"She gets the ball in the right people's hands," Mortensen told the Daily Press after Moffat's 61-41 win against Rifle. "She plays great defense, and she doesn't turn the ball over often."

Raftopoulos also found the basket for an average of 11 points a game. It was the second time Raftopoulos was given first-team honors in the league.

Sophomores Angie Charchalis and Markie Workman emerged this season as the future of Bulldog basketball. The WSL coaches recognized the two sophomores' play by placing them on the first team.

Charchalis led the league with 52 3-pointers for the season. That was almost twice the total of the second-best three-point shooter in the league. "For what Angie does, she's probably the best in the league," Mortensen said. "If coaches didn't prepare for her they were doing something wrong."

Charchalis led the team in assists, steals and averaged 12.6 points a game.

Workman established herself as one of the WSL's best inside players throughout the year, but her performance in the state semifinals may have put her in position to be one of the state's top returning players next year.

Workman scored 25 points against Regis-Jesuit's twin towers Aija Putnina and Mindy Nielson. The sophomore averaged 14.8 points a game.

In addition to earning first-team WSL honors, Workman was named to the Class 4A All-Tournament team as well as the Rocky Mountain News' second team in 4A.

"Markie is going to outwork her opponent," Mortensen said. "To go from playing a couple of minutes a game (as a freshman) to where she's at now was big for us."

Workman was second on the team in steals, rebounds and blocks.

The other two starters for the Bulldogs earned honorable mentions.

Cayla Maneotis may be the most intimidating player in the Western Slope League down low. The 6-foot-5-inch junior led Class 4A in blocked shots with 95. She also scored 10.3 points a game. In addition to her honorable mention in the league the Rocky Mountain News named her to their honorable mention all-state team.

Finally, senior Jessica Uecker was the fifth league honoree. Uecker was second in the WSL in three pointers with 29 in the season. She led the Bulldogs in free-throw percentage with 78 percent shooting. The second year starter added an all-league basketball honor to her already two soccer honors for the league.

The Bulldog players weren't the only ones honored. Mortensen was named the state's best coach in Class 4A by the Rocky Mountain News. Mortensen was selected to coach a girls team at the annual Denver Nuggets-sponsored high school all-star basketball games known as "The Show," on April 15.

Overall the Bulldogs finished with a school-record 25 wins and made it to the final four for the first time in 13 years.

Tickets are available for the April 15 girls all-star game Moffat County coach Craig Mortensen will be coaching. Mortensen was selected to coach a girls team at the annual Denver Nuggets-sponsored high school all-star basketball games known as "The Show."

The game will be played at 3:30 p.m. before the Nuggets play the Sacramento Kings. The tickets include a girls game, the Nuggets game and the boys all-star game after the Nuggets.

The discounted price is $25 for each ticket. The original cost for the ticket is $47. There are 45 tickets available. To reserve a ticket, call Reneta Kawcak at 824-7245.

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