The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team lost all five starters from a year ago, but the team returns a number of varsity-seasoned seniors and juniors. The team will play its first games of the season during the Dec. 4 Vernal Tournament in Vernal, Utah. The girls team is, back row, from left, Chelsie Carlson, Maddy Jourgensen, Justine Hathhorn, Melissa Camilletti, Adrie Camp, Kendal Snyder, Ashley King, Jessi Moser, Britteny Ivers, Callie Papoulas, Annie Sadvar, Nike Cleverly and Danielle Knez. Front row, from left, is Andi Daugherty, Sassy Murray, Bailey Hellander, Molly Nations, Kori Finneman, Tori Snyder, Jessica Scott, Lisa Camilletti, Kyleen Ellgen, Makayla Camilletti and Dakota Lee.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team lost all five starters from a year ago, but the team returns a number of varsity-seasoned seniors and juniors. The team will play its first games of the season during the Dec. 4 Vernal Tournament in Vernal, Utah. The girls team is, back row, from left, Chelsie Carlson, Maddy Jourgensen, Justine Hathhorn, Melissa Camilletti, Adrie Camp, Kendal Snyder, Ashley King, Jessi Moser, Britteny Ivers, Callie Papoulas, Annie Sadvar, Nike Cleverly and Danielle Knez. Front row, from left, is Andi Daugherty, Sassy Murray, Bailey Hellander, Molly Nations, Kori Finneman, Tori Snyder, Jessica Scott, Lisa Camilletti, Kyleen Ellgen, Makayla Camilletti and Dakota Lee.

MCHS girls basketball going back to basics to succeed

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The MCHS girls basketball team runs through footwork drills during their first practice Nov. 12.

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Junior Justine Hathhorn splits defenders while driving the lane during the Midnight Madness scrimmage. Hathhorn is one of the varsity girls basketball team’s returning players.

At a glance

Coach: Craig Mortensen, 28th year

2008-09 record: 16-9 (12-2 in Western Slope League)

Seniors: Three – Lindsey Yoast, Amanda Snyder, Jessi Moser.

Strengths: Depth, fundamentals, guard play

Weakness: Experience

Dates to circle:

Jan. 8: Eagle Valley High School travels to Moffat County for the Lady Bulldogs first home game. It will also be the Bulldogs second game playing against a Western Slope League team.

Feb. 16: Steamboat Springs High School vs. Moffat County High School in Craig. Not only will it be one of the last games of the regular season, it could have playoff implications, as well.

Girls varsity basketball

TBA Dec. 4 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 8 at Grandview (tournament)

TBA Dec. 9 at Grandview (tournament)

TBA Dec. 10 at Grandview (tournament)

TBA Dec. 11 at Grandview (tournament)

12:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at Montezuma-Cortez High School

6 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Eagle Valley High School

4 p.m. Jan. 9 vs. Battle Mountain High School

5:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at Grand Junction High School

6 p.m. Jan. 15 at Palisade High School

4 p.m. Jan. 16 at Delta High School

6 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Glenwood Springs High School

6 p.m. Jan. 26 at Steamboat Springs High School

6 p.m. Jan. 29 at Battle Mountain High School

4 p.m. Jan. 30 at Rifle High School

6 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Delta High School

4 p.m. Feb. 6 vs. Palisade High School

6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Glenwood Springs High School

4 p.m. Feb. 13 vs. Rifle High School

6 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Steamboat Springs High School

6 p.m. Feb. 19 at Eagle Valley High School

Girls junior varsity basketball

TBA Dec. 4 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

3 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Eagle Valley High School

1 p.m. Jan. 9 vs. Battle Mountain High School

4 p.m. Jan. 12 at Grand Junction High School

3 p.m. Jan. 15 at Palisade High School

1 p.m. Jan. 16 at Delta High School

6 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Rangely High School

3 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Glenwood Springs High School

4:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Steamboat Springs High School

4:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Battle Mountain High School

11 a.m. Jan. 30 at Rifle High School

3 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Delta High School

1 p.m. Feb. 6 vs. Palisade High School

4:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Glenwood High School

1 p.m. Feb. 13 vs. Rifle High School

3 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Steamboat Springs High School

4:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Eagle Valley High School

Girls freshman basketball

TBA Dec. 4 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 at Vernal (tournament)

TBA Dec. 15 at Hayden High School

11 a.m. Dec. 19 at Montezuma-Cortez High School

11 a.m. Jan. 9 at Uintah High School

11 a.m. Jan. 16 vs. Uintah High School

3 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Rangely High School

3 p.m. Jan. 26 at Steamboat Springs High School

6 p.m. Jan. 28 vs. Soroco High School

4 p.m. Feb. 4 at Battle Mountain High School

TBA Feb. 6 at Eagle Valley Tournament

6 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Steamboat Springs High School

6 p.m. Feb. 11 vs. Hayden High School

TBA Feb. 20 vs. Moffat County (tournament)

— After losing all five starters to graduation, the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team will have a new trademark this season.

“Keep it simple,” coach Craig Mortensen said. “And work hard while you’re doing it.”

The varsity team will be made up of a collection of savvy seniors and eager juniors.

“We’re really young,” Mortensen said. “We have three seniors returning and one junior who played varsity last year, but she’s hurt and won’t be here until January.”

The team lost all-conference seniors Alicia Nelson and Courtney Edington, as well as all-conference honorable mentions Ariel Sanchez and Danette Crofts.

But, the Bulldogs won’t be short on talent.

Seniors Jessi Moser, Lindsey Yoast and Amanda Snyder return to guide the team.

A talented and deep junior class will drive the Bulldogs for the next two years.

Juniors Justine Hathhorn, Maddy Jourgensen, Britteny Ivers, Lauren Roberts, Callie Papoulas and Nike Cleverly give Moffat County hope for this season and the future.

Adding to that optimism are sophomores Annie Sadvar and Melissa Camilletti.

The young players will have to learn quickly if Moffat County wants to replicate its success from a year ago, Mortensen said.

“We are really young so our learning curve will be really short — it needs to be,” he said. “We will be a pretty good team come February, but we always hope we’ll be a pretty good team in December. We just have to get by, by keeping things simple and doing things right.”

The 2008-09 team was a success on and off the court.

Mortensen picked up his 500th career win and was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association District 7 coach of the year.

The team not only notched a 16-9 (12-2 in WSL) record, but was named division 4A academic state champions.

Hathhorn said this team has the skill to duplicate the success from a year ago.

“I think we are going to be good,” she said. “We have a lot of speed this year.”

But, before the Bulldogs can take on the Western Slope League, they need to work on a few things.

“We need to improve our shots,” Hathhorn said. “But, I know we will band together and get better. If we are all together, we are going to win a lot more games.”

Banding together shouldn’t be a problem for this year’s team, Ivers said.

“I think we’ll be pretty good because we have such good team chemistry,” she said. “We are all friends and we know how everyone else on the team plays.”

The early returns on the team have been positive.

“We have really good young kids,” Mortensen said. “In a normal year we would like to have more seniors, but we have a lot of depth, a lot of kids who can play.”

That depth will be spread across the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

“Some nights, one girl might be on varsity and look great and then they will be on JV and someone else who looks great will be on varsity,” Mortensen said. “We have 10 or 12 kids who could play, so we will be fairly balanced.”

Mortensen said more than anything else, his team needs to log minutes on the varsity squad.

“We will be a work in progress this year,” he said. “They will have to work hard and I know these kids will.”

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