Current Western Slope League standings for girls varsity basketball:
(Team — overall record — league record)
• Delta — 17-5 — 10-2*
• Glenwood Springs — 17-5 — 9-2
• Moffat County — 15-7 — 9-2
• Steamboat Springs — 11-10 — 6-5
• Palisade — 7-15 — 2-9
• Eagle Valley — 5-17 — 2-9
• Battle Mountain — 2-19 — 1-10
A chance for a championship comes down to one game.
With 22 games in the books, the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team has one game left that will determine how the Bulldogs' season will be looked back on.
A win for the Bulldogs in Friday night’s season finale against rival Steamboat Springs will secure MCHS at least a share of the Western Slope League title.
A loss and the Bulldogs can only hope to get a playoff berth.
The Bulldogs (15-7 overall, 9-2 WSL) will battle the Sailors (11-10 overall, 6-5 WSL) at 6 p.m. Friday at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane.
“This is a big game for our team because winning league was a goal since the beginning of the season,” MCHS coach Matt Ray said. “The girls team hasn’t won the league title in two years, so the girls know how big of a deal it is and they are focused.”
Ray took over the Bulldogs when longtime coach Craig Mortensen retired after last season.
Ray said winning a league championship would mean more to the team than him.
“As an assistant on the team, we won many league titles,” he said. “It would be great for the team to keep up the success even with a new staff.”
The Bulldogs are currently tied for first place with Glenwood Springs and Delta.
Delta finished league play Tuesday with a win over Palisade.
But, Glenwood and MCHS victories Friday night would result in a three-way tie atop the league.
League rules outline tiebreakers.
The first is league standings, and the second is head-to-head games between the tied teams. The third is head-to-head games with other WSL teams.
A three-way tie would force the tiebreaker to go to a fourth tier.
If two teams are tied, a coin flip decides which school will receive the league championship plaque.
If three teams are tied, a fourth party will select a number and the coach that guesses closest to that number receives the plaque for his respective school.
No matter the outcome of the tiebreakers, the tied schools would still be seen as WSL co-champions.
In the last game between MCHS and Steamboat on Jan. 28, the Bulldogs used a newly installed offense to win in the Sailors’ gym, 61-51.
Despite the game being against a traditional rival and having championship implications, Ray said his team would approach it like any other this season.
“We have to play their strengths and contain them,” he said. “No matter the team we play, we have to play our style of game.”
A key component for the Bulldogs, Ray said, would be shutting down the Sailors perimeter shooters.
“(Steamboat) can hit 3-pointers from almost anywhere on the court,” he said. “If they go down, they will keep it close with their big shots, so we just need to make sure we get a hand up and don’t let them get off easy looks.”
For his seniors, Ray said this would probably be their last home game as a Bulldog.
“It will be pretty big for the seniors (on Friday),” he said. “It is a rivalry game and probably their last home game ever.”
MCHS senior Lauren Roberts said any game against Steamboat is important, but the added benefits from a victory makes Friday’s game even bigger.
“It is the last regular season game and it will determine whether we get a share of the league title or not,” she said. “It is important for me because it is my last game and my last game against Steamboat, so it is pretty exciting.”
Roberts said beating the Sailors and becoming WSL co-champions would be “the coolest thing ever.”
“The last game of a senior season is always a big deal and no one wants to look back at a loss against a rival on their home court,” she said.
Joshua Gordon can be reached at 875-1795 or at email@example.com.
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