If you go
What: MCHS girls varsity basketball team’s state tournament game versus John F. Kennedy High School
When: 6:30 p.m. tonight
Where: MCHS gymnasium, 900 Finley Lane
For more information, call 824-7036
For Moffat County High School senior Amanda Snyder, reality has not set in yet.
That reality is that tonight’s game against John F. Kennedy High School could be her last in Bulldog blue.
“It’s not real yet,” she said. “It’s weird.”
At 6:30 p.m. today, Snyder, along with fellow seniors Lindsey Yoast and Jessi Moser, will try to win what could be their last home basketball game when they host the Commanders (14-9 overall, 5-3 in the 4A/5A Denver Prep League) in the first round of the state tournament.
Snyder said her career playing MCHS hoops was “everything” to her.
“It’s been rewarding, and it’s been fun,” she said.
Snyder, a guard for the Bulldogs (11-12 overall, 9-5 in the Western Slope League), said she would miss being around her teammates more than anything.
Moser agreed with Snyder, saying that she couldn’t believe her high school hoops career was drawing to a close.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “It feels like yesterday I was a freshman, and now I’m a senior.”
Moser said she had fond memories of her time on the court.
“Probably just being on the court with the ball in my hands,” she said.
Moser said her Jan. 9 performance at home against Battle Mountain, when the wing-guard had 10 points, was her best.
“I had a good game,” she said. “I just found the sweet spot in the corner.”
If tonight is going to be Moser’s last time being in front of a home crowd, there is only one way she wants it to end.
“I want to go out with a win,” she said. “And if that’s not possible, I want to know I left it all out on the court.”
To go out with a win, MCHS coach Craig Mortensen said the Bulldogs will need to shut down Kennedy’s superlative guard, Gabriela Zarate.
“Everything goes through that one guard,” he said. “We have to do a good job of defending her.”
The team also will need to continue its recent trend of improved shot selection if it wants to win, Mortensen said.
“We can’t turn the ball over,” he said. “If we take care of the ball, we’ll have more shot opportunities.”
The two teams have not faced each other this season but have faced some of the same opponents.
The Commanders lost, 51-42, Feb. 5 to Montbello High School, while the Bulldogs fell to Montbello, 57-43, on Dec. 8.
Both teams defeated Rangeview, with Moffat County winning 48-34 on Dec. 9, and the Commanders winning 41-37 on Jan. 11.
“This is a very winnable game,” Mortensen said. “But just like any other game, we have to play well to win.”
The Bulldogs are not overlooking their opponent, Mortensen said.
“Getting in is great,” he said. “A home game is even better. If we can’t beat them here, we don’t deserve to move on.”
Yoast said the Bulldogs, seeded eighth in the Lou Piel division of the Class 4A bracket, could win tonight if they stick to their game plan.
“We just need to play our hardest,” she said. “We’re capable of anything we put our minds to.”
But if tonight is the last time Yoast will wear the Bulldog blue, she said she would have only fond memories of her time on the court.
“I’m going to miss playing at home,” she said. “Playing in front of my friends and family, and I’ll miss playing with my teammates.”