Moffat County girls basketball players Alicia Nelson, left, and Jorgiea Raftopoulos practice Wednesday. The Bulldogs host Fruita on Friday in the team's home opener at Moffat County High School.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Moffat County girls basketball players Alicia Nelson, left, and Jorgiea Raftopoulos practice Wednesday. The Bulldogs host Fruita on Friday in the team's home opener at Moffat County High School.

Bulldogs prepare for home opener

Moffat County girls basketball team to play back-to-back games

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If you go

What: MCHS girls basketball vs. Fruita

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Moffat County High School, 900 Finley lane

What: MCHS girls basketball vs. Evergreen

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Moffat County High School, 900 Finley lane

• For more information, call 824-7036

— Coach Craig Mortensen has his pregame ritual pretty much figured out after 28 years at the helm of the Moffat County High School girls basketball team.

It's not much of a routine at all.

He's seen just about every team throughout the state in game situations, so he doesn't waste much time on pregame scouting.

He's solely focused on his own team, not the opposition.

The opposition Friday is the Fruita High School Wildcats (2-3 overall, 0-0 Southwestern League, 5A), who visit Moffat County (2-1 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League, 4A) in the team's home opener. A home contest Saturday against Evergreen High School (4-2 overall, 0-0 Jefferson County League, 4A) follows, and Mortensen isn't planning on rolling out the welcome mat for either of the visitors.

"We think that we should win every game," said Mortensen, whose team is ranked fifth in the state. "You can go backward or forward. We plan on moving forward every game we play."

Preseason, all-conference selections Angie Charchalis and Markie Workman lead the Bulldog attack, a quick strike offense similar to last year based out of the half-court.

Mortensen said teams should watch out if they plan on focusing solely on those two players, letting others run free.

"Jorgiea Raftopoulos and Amy Dilldine are looking better each week," he said. "Our younger kids are starting to fit in well also. We are getting a nice balance between young and old."

Fruita coach Dan Schmalz isn't planning any new tricks for his team's trip to Moffat County. He's more concerned with teams within his own division.

"We don't scout as much for games like these," he said. "We just run our stuff and see what we can do."

The "stuff" Schmalz runs is a four-out-one-in style of offense.

"We have four wingers and one player in the post," he said. "We have a smaller team, and this offense works really well for them. It's an offense I happen to really like."

Despite his offensive scheming, Schmalz said his team's strength is on the other side of the ball.

"We have been playing great defensively this season," he said. "Our rebounding on the defensive end has been our strong point."

Fruita graduated five seniors, leaving two returning starters from a year ago. But no statistics can stray Mortensen away from his age-old approach to games.

"I'm not concerned about them," he said. "I'm concerned about us. Period."

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