Jazmine Swindler, a Moffat County High School freshman, dribbles down the sideline Saturday against Eagle Valley. The MCHS girls freshmen basketball team went 1-2 in the Moffat County Tournament, with their lone win coming against Eagle Valley.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Jazmine Swindler, a Moffat County High School freshman, dribbles down the sideline Saturday against Eagle Valley. The MCHS girls freshmen basketball team went 1-2 in the Moffat County Tournament, with their lone win coming against Eagle Valley.

MCHS freshmen girls excel in new offense

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Results

Moffat County High School girls freshmen basketball team results from Saturday’s Moffat County Tournament:

• Grand Junction 37, Moffat County 16

• Unitah 32, Moffat County 14

• Moffat County 23, Eagle Valley 10

— MCHS tournament record: 1-2

After losing to Grand Junction and Unitah, the Moffat County High School girls freshmen basketball team faced the prospect of finishing their home tournament winless.

The team, however, stayed focused and rebounded from the earlier defeats to top Eagle Valley in the final game of the Moffat County Tournament on Saturday, 23-10.

The Bulldogs jumped to a 13-2 lead after the first half.

Head coach Norm Yoast said the team’s new offense was part of the reason for the victory.

“We have only worked two days on the new offense, but the girls picked it up really well,” he said. “They are confident with it and I think it fits them really well.”

The new offense is the same system the MCHS girls varsity basketball team used to defeat Western Slope League rival Steamboat Springs on Friday.

Six girls teams played at MCHS in the tournament — MCHS, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs and Unitah.

The first two MCHS losses against Grand Junction, 37-16, and Unitah, 32-14, were because of pressure defense, Yoast said.

“The press really hurt us in our first two games because we haven’t seen much it this season,” he said. “Our inexperience hurt us.

“We will keep working and the team is definitely getting better everyday.”

Defensively, Yoast said his team did a great job with half-court defense.

“In all three games, when we got the other teams down and working the half court, we did a really good job,” he said. “There were some confidence issues, but they played well.”

In tough situations, like Grand Junction’s press, Yoast said his players’ youth shows through.

“When they get in pressure situations, the younger players think, ‘What do I do, what do I do?’” he said. “They still have to learn to just react and not get in their heads.”

Working with the freshmen, Yoast said the length of the season could cause problems.

“Coming to high school basketball, there is definitely a difference in practice,” he said. “Combined with the length of the season, they can get tired.”

When his players move up to junior varsity or varsity after this season, Yoast said fundamental skills will make a difference.

“In practice, we work on basic defense,” he said. “We also work on dribbling, setting screens and boxing out.

“Just the basic, basic fundamentals so they have that as a base for their game.”

The Bulldogs will play at 5 p.m. tonight in Rifle and will have two games after to conclude the season.

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