Hoops 101

Girls basketball team re-focuses after rare league loss to Glenwood Springs

A Western Slope League loss has been so rare for the Moffat County girls basketball team that Friday night, after a 63-62 loss to Glenwood Springs, the Bulldogs might have questioned if the sun would come up the next day.

The sun did come up and the girls have three more weekends of league basketball left to prepare for a possible rematch.

"We can't assume we're going to win out (the rest of the season)," coach Craig Mortensen said, "but I think the most important time for us as a team the next couple of weeks is in practice."

Moffat County took a 33-1 WSL record from the last three seasons and a No. 2 in Class 4A ranking into the game against Glenwood. The Bulldogs left with a 33-2 record and a bit of a bruised ego.

"Glenwood could have beat us twice, and we have to recognize that we're beatable," Mortensen said.

The final three weeks of the regular season, including road games against Palisade and Delta on Friday and Saturday, respectively, are against teams with a collective 18-56 record.

"We love playing basketball so it's not hard to get focused for games, no matter who we play," senior Ashleigh Mann said. "But it's a long season and sometimes we can lose our focus."

Mortensen agreed with Mann, saying that his team has been, "flirting with complacency."

Learning from the past

It was no secret that Glenwood Springs was going to be a challenge. The Demons nearly knocked off the Bulldogs in Craig the first week in January.

"I think we were a little nervous against them," junior Jorgiea Raftopoulos said. "It kept us from playing our best."

Raftopoulos and junior Markie Workman both fouled out of the game and five Bulldogs scored. Mortensen based this week's practice schedule on those two results.

"We were reaching too much on defense," Mortensen said. "When one girl scores 29 points, we aren't playing team defense well."

Sharaya Selsor was "that girl" for the Demons.

"Ashleigh played good defense on her," Raftopoulos said. "We didn't help her out like we should have."

As a result, the Bulldogs have worked on help defense in this week's practices.

In the win against Glenwood the Bulldogs had seven girls score, with several late baskets coming from non-starters. In the second game no non-starters scored.

"I hope we can give opportunities for more of our girls to gain confidence on offense," Mortensen said. "We are going to need girls to be ready to score later in the season if our top scorers have a bad night."

This week the team worked on ball movement and getting each other open.

"We've worked on setting better screens and getting open away from the ball," Raftopoulos said. "Basically we need to run our half-court offense better."

Learning for the future

If the regular season ended today, the Bulldogs could meet either Rifle or Glenwood Springs in the post season.

Until then, they have six more games to play.

"It's tough because we play the two best teams in the league in one weekend and we have the rest of the time for the rest of the league," Raftopoulos said.

Mortensen is confident that his girls are willing to work.

"As a coach I have to figure out what makes us better and to prepare us for the post-season," he said. "I have great, willing players who want to take what we figure out and go with it."

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