Bulldog basketball team beginning to gel

— First-year Moffat County basketball coach Steve Maneotis began training camp two weeks ago with a full head of steam. He came into the season with change being at the forefront of his new regime.

He wanted to start fresh, with many new bright ideas for his students of the game.

Maneotis and the Bulldogs learned their first lesson of this young season last week, when scrimmaging Roaring Fork High School of Utah, the defending two-time state finalists.

"They stuck it to us. We had a rough first quarter," Maneotis said. "We found out we weren't as ready as we should be. We have a ways to go yet."

Ignore the first quarter and Maneotis was pleased with how the team responded throughout the remainder of the game.

"We had a really nice balance to our scoring," he said. "Once we knocked the rust off, we got into a really nice role of creating shots and getting open looks. We flowed really well."

Moffat County picked up some items that need to be worked on, as well as those that were effective against the opposition.

"The guys realized their pace wasn't where it needed to be," Maneotis said. "I got pretty much what I expected from that game."

The coach pointed to Colton Conrad, Mike Peters and Eli Buckner as a few of the players who stood out during the contest.

"Conrad really got up and down the floor well," he said. "Mike took care of the ball well and Eli's starting to get the rust off."

Maneotis has stressed this season won't be in any way a "quick fix" type situation, the improvements on a 6-15 season a year ago will come with time.

"We are getting there," he said. "We will be a solid 8-man deep team. It will come."

Team notes

Junior Chayton Owens missed the Bulldogs' scrimmage against Roaring Fork. "We missed him in our game plan," Maneotis said. The coach Owens had personal issues to deal with and that he was back in practice the next day.

The Bulldogs welcomed two new players to its roster Monday. Moffat County added out-of-state transfer, 6-foot-5 forward Blake Najera to the varsity roster and transfer Chris Baker was added to the junior varsity roster.

"He fits right into what we do here," Maneotis said of Najera. "He's only been to two practices, but he plays well inside and out. It helps fill the void left by J.T."

Senior J.T. Haddan will miss the year due to an injury sustained during the football season. Haddan was named honorary captain.

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