Craig Middle School seventh-grader Eddie Smercina eyeballs his shot before a foul shot during the Bulldogs’ Friday game against Steamboat Springs. The CMS seventh-grade A-team beat the Sailors, 21-16.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Craig Middle School seventh-grader Eddie Smercina eyeballs his shot before a foul shot during the Bulldogs’ Friday game against Steamboat Springs. The CMS seventh-grade A-team beat the Sailors, 21-16.

CMS basketball trounces Steamboat

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Craig Middle School seventh-grader Joseph Selbech leans in for a shot near the bucket in the A-team’s Friday home game against Steamboat Springs. The A-team won, 21-16, as did the B-team, 19-15.

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Craig Middle School eighth-grader Ben Robinson lets the ball fly during a foul shot in the Bulldogs’ game with Steamboat Springs Friday at CMS. The eighth-grade A-team trampled the Sailors, 42-22, while the B-team won, 28-13.

Craig Middle School boys basketball results from Friday and Saturday:

Eighth-grade A-team(Opponent — score)

• Steamboat Springs — 42-22W

• Rangely — 60-16W

— Season record: 4-1

Eighth-grade B-team

• Steamboat Springs — 28-13W

• Rangely — 32-26L

— Season record: 1-2

Seventh-grade A-team

• Steamboat Springs — 21-16W

• Rangely — 31-10W

— Season record: 5-0

Seventh-grade B-team

• Steamboat Springs — 19-15W

• Rangely — 24-11W

— Season record: 3-0

One game Craig sports coaches look forward to in their season is the match-up against Steamboat Springs.

Craig Middle School basketball coaches Drew Morris and Justin Folley are no exception.

And, after their most recent games against their rivals, that enjoyment has only increased.

Both the seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball teams put the Sailors through their paces during Friday’s home games against Steamboat.

Following behind the eighth-grade B-team’s 28-13 victory, the A-team upped the ante with a 42-22 win.

With an 11-2 count at the end of the first quarter, the A-team led the scoring the entire game. The Bulldogs held a 26-7 lead by halftime.

A-team member Javen Gumber said he noticed a change in the Bulldogs’ attitude in the first half compared to past games.

“This is the first game we’ve come out strong like this,” he said. “(Steamboat) played great, but we were ready for them. I’m expecting our team to go out and play hard for this year.”

Teammate Kody Fief agreed the A-team was on surer footing, playing hard throughout the game rather than making a comeback in the second half.

“We finally came out of the gates really hard. IIn the other games, we kind of waited,” Fief said. “The last game that we lost (against Baggs, Wyo.), we didn’t come out soon enough. I’m feeling we could win all of our games for the rest of this season. We’re doing a lot better than last season, hustling, getting rebounds, everything.”

Morris added more praise to his players.

“They played much better defense, they’re much more aggressive and they just played well,” he said. “Last time, Steamboat came out and played hard in the first half, but this time we changed it around.”

One change from the rest of the season was an increase in the number of foul shots, an issue prominent in the eighth-graders’ games in the CMS gym as well as the seventh-graders’ games in the Sandrock Elementary School gym.

The seventh-grade A-team topped Steamboat 19-15 after a lengthy battle for the rock.

“We get a little aggressive sometimes, but that’s because we want the ball,” Folley said.

A-team’s Joseph Selbech said Folley got the Bulldogs whipped up as the Sailors threatened to take the lead with the score 11-11 at the half.

“Our coach’s momentum really helped us win, and we were playing a lot harder,” he said.

The B-team set the tone for seventh-grade hoops beforehand with a 19-15 win.

“It was a little bit tougher playing Steamboat again, but I’m glad we beat them both times,” B-team player Wyatt Nelson said.

Folley said the anticipation was great for a rematch after playing Steamboat in the season opener.

“We always look forward to that second game. The first one’s always exciting, but the second one is a little bit more intense,” he said. “They want to come back and beat us or we want to beat them — it’s the whole Steamboat/Craig thing.”

Friday was an all-around good night for the seventh-grade teams, showing the output of their practice sessions.

“They’re doing a lot better, our defense has picked up a lot and it’s really working out,” Folley said. “We did a good job looking for open guys up and down the court.”

The undefeated winning streak continued for the 5-0 A-team and 3-0 B-team the next day traveling to Rangely, picking up 31-10 and 24-11 triumphs, respectively.

The Saturday results were split for the eighth-graders. While the A-team crushed the Panthers 60-16 to earn a 4-1 record, the 1-2 B-team suffered the weekend’s sole loss, 32-26.

“B-team really made it close after a bad first half,” Morris said.

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