Melissa Camilletti, a Moffat County High School senior, lines up her shot during a practice drill Nov. 9 at MCHS. Camilletti bypassed doing spring and fall sports to focus on basketball and hopefully help lead her team through the 4A playoffs.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Melissa Camilletti, a Moffat County High School senior, lines up her shot during a practice drill Nov. 9 at MCHS. Camilletti bypassed doing spring and fall sports to focus on basketball and hopefully help lead her team through the 4A playoffs.

Everything they have

MCHS girls basketball team looks for return trip to playoffs

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Matt Ray

Team at a glance ...

Coaches:

• Matt Ray — head coach

• Kendel Fawcett — JV coach

• Norm Yoast — freshmen coach

• Kelsey Olsen — assistant coach

Seniors:

• Melissa Camilletti

• Annie Sadvar

2010-2011 record:

• 17-8 overall, 10-2 Western Slope League

By the numbers:

3: The Bulldogs split the WSL title three ways in February after MCHS, Glenwood and Delta each won their final game of the regular season to force the three-way tie.

5: Five seniors graduated from last year’s playoff team and only two starters — seniors Melissa Camilletti and Annie Sadvar — return from a season ago.

288/80/65: Melissa Camilletti led the Bulldogs last season with 288 points and 80 assists. The senior also recorded 65 steals, second best only to graduated-senior Lauren Roberts.

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Annie Sadvar, a Moffat County High School senior, goes up for a lay-up during practice Nov. 9 at MCHS. After the team implemented a new offense last season, Sadvar said the outside shot is going to be the Bulldogs’ strong point this season on offense.

2011-2012 Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball schedule:

(Date — place — host/opponent)

• Dec. 2 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 3 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 8 — away — Steamboat Springs Shootout

• Dec. 9 — away — Steamboat Springs Shootout

• Dec. 10 — away — Steamboat Springs Shootout

• Dec. 16 — away — Montrose Tournament

• Dec. 17 — away — Montrose Tournament

• Jan. 5 — away — Central Grand Junction High School

• Jan. 7 — away — Glenwood Springs High School

• Jan. 11 — away — Grand Junction High School

• Jan. 13 — home — Eagle Valley High School

• Jan. 14 — away — Battle Mountain High School

• Jan. 20 — home — Delta High School

• Jan. 21 — home — Palisade High School

• Jan. 24 — home — Steamboat Springs High School

• Feb. 3 — away — Eagle Valley High School

• Feb. 4 — home — Battle Mountain High School

• Feb. 10 — away — Delta High School

• Feb. 11 — away — Palisade High School

• Feb. 14 — home — Glenwood Springs High School

• Feb. 17 — away — Steamboat Springs High School

2011-2012 Moffat County High School girls junior varsity basketball schedule:

(Date — place — host/opponent)

• Dec. 2 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 3 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 8 — home — Soroco High School

• Jan. 5 — away — Central Grand Junction High School

• Jan. 7 — away — Glenwood Springs High School

• Jan. 11 — away — Grand Junction High School

• Jan. 13 — home — Eagle Valley High School

• Jan. 14 — away — Battle Mountain High School

• Jan. 20 — home — Delta High School

• Jan. 21 — home — Palisade High School

• Jan. 24 — home — Steamboat Springs High School

• Feb. 3 — away — Eagle Valley High School

• Feb. 4 — home — Battle Mountain High School

• Feb. 10 — away — Delta High School

• Feb. 11 — away — Palisade High School

• Feb. 14 — home — Glenwood Springs High School

• Feb. 17 — away — Steamboat Springs High School

2011-2012 Moffat County High School girls freshmen basketball schedule:

(Date — place — host/opponent)

• Dec. 2 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 3 — away — Uintah Tournament

• Dec. 8 — home — Soroco High School

• Dec. 9 — away — Rangely High School

• Dec. 10 — away — Rangely High School

• Jan. 10 — home — Aspen High School

• Jan. 21 — away — Eagle Valley Tournament

• Jan. 23 — away — Soroco High School

• Jan. 28 — home — Moffat County Tournament

• Jan. 30 — home — Rifle High School

• Feb. 6 — home — Steamboat Springs High School

• Feb. 17 — away — Steamboat Springs High School

In his first year as head coach, Matt Ray led the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team to the 4A state playoffs.

As he is set to begin his second season, Ray said the goal is no different.

The Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 round before falling to No. 1 seed Longmont High School, 88-47, in March.

To advance further, Ray said it all began during the summer with workouts and camps.

“Experience-wise, we had a great summer,” he said. “Every girl did all the stuff to jumpstart the season, and the experience from last year will only help.”

However, the team lost five seniors who all contributed last season and brings back only two players who saw significant time a year ago — seniors Melissa Camilletti and Annie Sadvar.

On the plus side, Ray said, both Camilletti and Sadvar have started on varsity since their sophomore year.

“We are going to try and bring the spirit from last year,” Sadvar said. “We have to try and carry it over since we don’t have as many returning players.”

The Bulldogs will receive help from numerous juniors, including Lisa Camilletti, Makayla Camilletti and Sassy Murray.

“I think (Annie and I) both try and work hard in practice and give everything we have,” Melissa said. “We have to set a good example for the juniors, and I think they are ready for varsity.”

In with the new

Before the Bulldogs matched up with Steamboat Springs last season, Ray implemented a new offense to spark the team’s scoring.

The result: A 6-1 finish to the regular season, including two wins over Steamboat.

“The offense before was just motion,” Ray said. “There are a lot of options in motion and (our new offense) is similar, but only one option.

“If the defense does this, you do that. Once you make the pass or cut, there are more options, but initially it is simplified.”

Having a full summer to work on the new offense, Ray said everything runs smoother.

“It is almost second nature now, and we can play and react,” he said. “By the end of the summer, they were playing instead of thinking. You will see in the first game, our flow is better and they are reacting a lot faster to defenses.”

While last year’s team saw great post play from several players, Sadvar said this season the Bulldogs’ biggest threat is going to be their outside game.

“Three-pointers are going to be our strength,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of big people and we are all pretty good shooters. We have a lot of players who can hit the three who you wouldn’t expect, including our post.”

Because Sadvar will be the team’s starting post player, she said it will be her responsibility to get her teammates open.

“If I am inside when they are shooting, I have to make sure to rebound,” she said. “I can try and screen for them and help get them a good open shot.”

Ray said the team will have multiple threats when it comes time to shoot the ball.

“We hope to have a solid outside-inside game,” he said. “Annie is a great returning inside player and we have Melissa, Lisa, Makayla and Sassy who can all shoot from outside. Having many players who can score is a strength because we don’t just have one person who can do it every night.”

Basketball above all else

After the 2010 MCHS varsity volleyball season wrapped up, Melissa was named an honorable mention player for the Western Slope League and looked to be the top returning starter for 2011.

But Melissa decided not to continue with volleyball and instead concentrate more on basketball with her sister, Lisa.

“My sister and I were talking about how cool it would be to go further than what Moffat County has been able to,” Melissa said. “We love it enough that we can go out there every day and keep playing.”

So, through the spring, summer and fall, the two practiced basketball as other sports went on without them.

“We have a hoop at our house and we would go out there every day,” she said. “We would do defensive drills and shooting drills and then go to the Boys & Girls Club (of Craig) and play with our brother-in-law.”

While Lisa suited for the varsity squad last season as a sophomore, she didn’t see many minutes.

Now, as a junior, she is expected to contribute significantly, and Melissa said all the hard work will pay off.

“Playing with her this summer and by ourselves, it helped,” she said. “Coming into the gym with all the others, we still can read each other really well.

“It’s hard sometimes because we get frustrated with each other, but we push each other, and I wouldn’t be as good without her pushing me.”

Alone at the top

In the last week of the 2010 season, Moffat County, Glenwood Springs and Delta each won the final girls basketball game to force a three-way tie for the WSL title.

This year, Ray said, the team doesn’t want to settle for a tie.

“It really comes down to winning at home,” he said. “We beat both Delta and Glenwood on the road, but lost to them here. We have to make a statement at home, and if that happens and we still win on the road, we can be at the top.”

The offense won’t be the only factor in the Bulldogs’ success this season.

Defensively, Sadvar said the team has to buckle down.

“Our speed will be an advantage on defense,” she said. “Because we don’t have a lot of big players, we have to use our speed to stop offenses.”

With all facets in check and as the team prepares to begin its season in the Uintah Tournament on Dec. 2 and 3 in Vernal, Utah, Sadvar said she wants to go out with a great season.

“We have to win every game,” she said. “We have to focus on the games we know we have to win. No game is given, but some you know you can do well. We have to push times 10 in the other games.”

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