CMS basketball season begins with wins in Steamboat

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Results

Craig Middle School boys basketball Saturday results vs. Steamboat Springs:

Eighth-grade:

A-team: 39-32W

B-team: 23-20L

Seventh-grade:

A-team: 26-22W

B-team: 19-15W

If you go…

What: Craig Middle School boys basketball vs. Baggs

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: CMS gym, 915 Yampa Ave., and Sandrock Elementary School gym, 201 E. Ninth St.

Although the second game of the season has been pushed back, members of Craig Middle School’s boys basketball teams are ready to build on a strong beginning.

The seventh- and eighth-grade teams each had a positive outcome Saturday as they opened their seasons in Steamboat Springs. The eighth-grade A-team led the charge with a 39-32 win.

A-team starter Ben Robinson said the first half of the game almost dampened his team’s spirits.

“We were down by 11 at halftime, and we were all getting down on ourselves so we had to pull our heads out of our butts and come back,” he said.

The B-team also battled to the last quarter, but lost 23-20.

Coach Drew Morris said he has seen a marked improvement in his squads since last season.

“A lot of them spent their summer working in the gym at Trapper (Fitness Center), a lot have put in the time in AAU and their skills have improved,” he said. “They didn’t start very quick on Saturday, but I think they know they need to work a lot harder.”

Robinson said his goal for the season is to go undefeated, a feat last year’s eighth-grade team met, complete with a district championship.

Robinson, then a seventh-grader, was one of the members who led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the tournament and a 7-7 record.

“We want to prove that we’re not the same team we were last year,” he said. “I think we’re doing pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Robinson said the team needs to focus on building speed and ball-handling.

CMS was scheduled to play Meeker on Tuesday, but the team was unable to come to Craig because of a travel problem. The game will be rescheduled for later in the season.

The Bulldogs will host Baggs, Wyo., today and will travel to Hayden on Saturday morning.

Robinson’s teammate Javen Gumber said a key part of upcoming games would be playing hard beneath the rim.

“We need to really work on boxing out Baggs, that’s one big thing we need to work on doing,” he said.

Seventh-grade coach Justin Folley has his own strategies for the weekend games.

“Baggs is very fast up and down the court, but as long as we can get back on defense, we should be good,” he said. “Hayden usually has one or two kids who can play well, but as long as we stick with them man-to-man, we shouldn’t have a problem.”

Seventh-grade A- and B-teams each won in Steamboat, 26-22 and 19-15, respectively.

“A-team really pulled it out in overtime, Eddie Smercina made a couple free throws in overtime that really helped us,” Folley said. “We made some good adjustments in the middle of the game. They’re pretty well prepared on offense, where they can find the open shots and what kind of defense. They’re a little slow on defense, but we went into a zone on Saturday and it worked out really well.”

This is Folley’s first year as a head coach, though he has worked with teams as an assistant for the last four.

He said his teams have played hard in their first weeks of middle school basketball.

“Things are going pretty good so far, they’ve done real well, and you can’t ask for any more than these guys have been giving,” he said.

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