At a glance
• MCHS girls' basketball team wins 4A academic state championship
• Championship the second in three years for the girls team
• 3.82 team GPA tops among schools in its class
• Seniors Courtney Edington and Alicia Nelson named WSL all conference; Ariel Sanchez and Danette Crofts earn honorable mention.
• Kylie Bauman named WSL outstanding sportsmanship award winner.
The Moffat County High School girls basketball team's postseason fell short of its ultimate goal - winning a state championship on the court.
But, that didn't stop the team from winning big off it.
The girls team had its postseason banquet Monday night.
News learned earlier that day added to the evening's festivities.
On Monday afternoon, head coach Craig Mortensen and assistant coach Matt Ray, who is also the high school athletic director, learned the girls team had been named 4A academic state champions, a distinction the team earned by notching a 3.82 grade point average.
The girls' GPA ranked highest among schools in its class.
It marked the second time in three years the girls team had won the academic state championship. The team also won in 2007.
Ray said the girls team is an example of how athletes should handle themselves in and out of the classroom.
"This just shows our girls are truly student athletes," he said. "It shows that they're doing the right things on and off the court."
Several individual honors also were bestowed upon team members Monday.
Overall, 13 players were awarded varsity letters, as well as two team managers.
Senior guards Courtney Edington and Alicia Nelson also were named to the Western Slope League all-conference team.
Senior guard Ariel Sanchez and senior forward Danette Crofts were listed as all-conference honorable mention.
The recognition didn't end there.
Senior Kylie Bauman was given the outstanding sportsmanship award for the WSL, an honor given out by area game officials.
"It was all really good, really positive," Mortensen said of the girls' individual and team accomplishments. "We're happy with all of the girls and proud of them."
Mortensen, too, has received his share of praise for his body of work this season, which saw him win his 500th career game and be nominated for the Colorado High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
On Thursday, he was traveling to Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where he will coach Saturday in the 20th Annual Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School All-Star Game.
In March, the WBCA named him the District 7 Coach of the Year.
His team this season advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to undefeated state champion, Broomfield.
MCHS finished 16-9 overall, and 12-2 in the WSL.
Mortensen said the season was a triumph, especially given the inexperience level many of his players had at the beginning.
"It really was a good year," Mortensen said. "We felt like we had a really young and unproven team that (turned out to) have a very successful season."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or firstname.lastname@example.org.