Zach Raftopoulos, left, and Angelo Raftopoulos palm a pair of basketballs during a practice session. The two cousins are expected to start this season on the varsity team.

Photo by David Pressgrove

Zach Raftopoulos, left, and Angelo Raftopoulos palm a pair of basketballs during a practice session. The two cousins are expected to start this season on the varsity team.

All in the family

Zach and Angelo Raftopoulos use familiarity, hoops history to help lead boys team

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The Moffat County varsity basketball team is, back row, from left, head coach David Bradshaw, coach John Haddan, Bobby Kyle, Angelo Raftopoulos, Colby Haddan, Jacob Scroggs, Andrew Browning, Tyler Hildebradt, Chet Harvey, scout Bill Lawrence and manager Robert Razanno. Shown in the front row, from left, is Dylon Camilletti, Zach Raftopoulos, Taft Cleverly, Paul Laliberte, and Keenan Bradshaw.

2010 MCHS boys varsity basketball schedule:

Day Date Opponent Place Time

Thursday Dec. 9 Montrose Steamboat Springs 3 p.m.

Friday Dec. 10 TBA Steamboat Springs TBA

Saturday Dec. 11 TBA Steamboat Springs TBA

Monday Dec. 13 GJ Central HOME 7:30 p.m.

Thursday Dec. 16 Rifle Palisade Tournament 4:30 p.m.

Friday Dec. 17 Montezuma Cortez Palisade Tournament 3 p.m.

Saturday Dec. 18 Palisade Palisade Tournament 2:30 p.m.

Monday Jan. 3 Basalt HOME 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday Jan. 4 Aspen Aspen High School 5:30 p.m.

Saturday Jan 8 Glenwood Springs HOME 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday Jan. 11 Grand Junction HOME 7:30 p.m.

Friday Jan. 14 Eagle Valley EV High School 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Jan. 15 Battle Mountain HOME 5:30 p.m.

Friday Jan. 21 Delta Delta High School 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Jan. 22 Palisade Palisade High School 3:30 p.m.

Friday Jan. 28 Steamboat Springs SS High School 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Feb. 4 Eagle Valley HOME 2 p.m.

Friday Feb. 11 Delta HOME 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Feb. 12 Palisade HOME 3:20 p.m.

Tuesday Feb. 15 Glenwood Springs Glenwood Springs 7:30 p.m.

Friday Feb. 18 Steamboat Springs HOME 7:30 p.m.

Top returners:

Seniors Dylon Camilletti, Angelo Raftopoulos, Zach Raftopoulos, Chet Harvey and sophomore Paul Laliberte

Last season: 6-17 overall and 4-10 in the Western Slope League

Zach and Angelo (Hodge) Raftopoulos have been around basketball most of their lives. Their older sisters played together on some of the best girls teams in Moffat County High School history. The cousins traveled to watch their sisters play, but they weren’t far from basketball either.

“Whenever we got together, it seemed like a basketball game happened,” Hodge said. “(Zach and I) have played a lot of basketball together.”

This year might be the last year the two seniors will play an organized game together.

“When football was over and we started getting ready for basketball it kind of hit me how fast everything was going,” Hodge said. “It will be over before we know it.”

First-year head coach David Bradshaw said he hopes his two seniors will spend their final year at MCHS leading his team.

“You can tell they’ve played a lot of basketball,” he said. “If I do my job right this year, I won’t do much coaching during the games. Guys like Zach and Angelo will recognize what’s going on from the floor and lead the team from there.”

The cousins want to help Bradshaw return a team that finished 6-17 last year to winning ways. They hope that one way they can contribute is to work together like they have most of their lives.

“I know what (Hodge) is going to do before he does it,” said Zach, a guard who distributes the ball to his cousin in the post. “We know each other better than anyone else on the team.”

The on-court chemistry is subtle but successful. The two said a simple eye movement or head nudge is a language they understand.

“We’ve played together since kindergarten,” Zach said. “That’s a lot of backyard ball and tramp(oline) ball.”

Their bond has also helped them weather three different coaches at MCHS.

“We’ve seen some different systems,” Hodge said. “But, we just have to make a couple of adjustments because really it’s all basketball.”

The Bulldogs graduated three starters from last year’s team that finished 4-10 in the Western Slope League. Top scorer Dylon Camilletti returns and Bradshaw has high hopes for Zach and Hodge.

“They have the capability to use their knowledge of the game on the court and I can see them being vocal leaders,” he said.

They’ve shared a lot through their years and as their basketball careers start to wind down, they share a couple of final goals.

“We want to get back to the playoffs,” Hodge said.

“And we want to beat Steamboat,” Zach added.

Hodge nodded in agreement.

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