In the 2010-11 season, the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team shared the Western Slope League title and advanced in the 4A state playoffs.
The team’s success was in large part due to a new offense head coach Matt Ray installed before a game against Steamboat Springs Jan. 28.
The Bulldogs went 7-2 using the new offense, finishing 17-8 overall and 10-2 in the WSL.
Ray said the team will stick with the offense for the 2011-12 campaign.
Twenty-two girls from the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams competed in back-to-back camps at the end of June — June 23 to 25 at the University of Northern Colorado and June 26 to 28 at the University of Wyoming.
“For the three weeks before the camps, we worked on our offensive packages and how to read and react,” Ray said. “We put a few new wrinkles in, and the girls executed really well and they ran the ball up the court.”
Each team played 16 games over the six days.
While the coach wants to keep refining the offense, Ray said the main focus of the camps were to show players how tough they could be.
“No matter how tired they are, they found out they could still play hard and as a team,” he said. “On day five I could see some fatigue, but they overcame adversity and picked themselves up and kept playing hard.”
During the summer, Ray said his team spends about three-fourths of their time working on offense and one-fourth on defense.
“We didn’t really focus much on defense, but the girls still played hard-nosed defense and we just fine-tuned a little,” he said. “The offense is new and different, so we really want them to understand it.
“But, we did work some on help-side defense.”
At the end of July, Ray said open gym sessions will start up again, but until then, the players will have to shoot and lift weights on their own.
Ray said he feels confident heading into next season.
“Every team from day one improved,” he said. “I think they all feel more confident with the offense and they were making the right reads and the right cuts.”
Chemistry and cohesion
While the girls teams worked on new offensive sets, the MCHS boys varsity basketball team focused more on chemistry.
Head coach David Bradshaw took six players to play June 23 to 25 at a Western State College of Colorado camp.
“We played seven games in the three days and we were focused on the guys’ chemistry and playing together,” Bradshaw said. “During the summer, we work at putting a few new things in, so we wanted a chance to be able to put those to use.”
Defensively, Bradshaw said the team has “a long way to go.”
“We need to get better on rotations and help side defense,” he said. “Initially, the help would be there, but we need to work on our back side.
“Still, I think we are a lot further than we were at this point last year.”
The Bulldogs went 2-20 overall and 1-11 in the WSL last season. Bradshaw said he hopes a new transitional approach to offense will help.
“With the personnel we have, I think we can set up and run the floor,” he said. “We have good post players and our guard play will open things up more.”
With all-conference post player Angelo Raftopoulos now graduated, incoming seniors Colby Haddan and Andy Browning will anchor the paint.
Bradshaw said statistically, Haddan and Browning were the Bulldogs’ best players at the camp, putting up double digit points most of the weekend.
Incoming freshman Tyler Davis, who is expected to get some varsity minutes, and incoming sophomore Taft Cleverly also had good camps, Bradshaw said.
The team will continue having open gym for the remainder of July, and Bradshaw said plans are in the works for a scrimmage against Steamboat Springs on July 24.
“We are going to have to make teams beat us from the perimeter,” Bradshaw said. “If they get in the paint, they get high-percentage shots. I think opening the floor up with a transition offense will help our team this year.”
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