On the net...
Make sure to catch the girls and boys varsity basketball games vs. Olathe Friday at 6 and 7:30 p.m. on craigdailypress.com
MCHS girls basketball
vs. Olathe High School 6 p.m. Friday
at Gunnison High School 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Heading into Christmas, it’s already time for a big basketball game in Craig.
The Moffat County High School girls basketball team will look to get back on track Friday when they take on Olathe in a key Western Slope League matchup.
Olathe is the defending champion of the 3A WSL, and has started its season a perfect 4-0. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have had a more up-and-down 2-3 start, most recently with a 51-41 loss to Roaring Fork.
That loss was a difficult one for the Bulldogs, who did not play with the same intensity as in their home-opener, head coach Matt Ray said.
“Defensively I didn’t think we played nearly as aggressively as we did against Grand Valley,” Ray said. “Against Grand Valley we flew around, we were denying things and we didn’t let them have any extra passes. (There was a) hand in the face shot-wise and against Roaring Fork we didn’t have that. We were just like a step slow. Some nights you have those and you wish you could figure out how to make it so those don’t happen but they do.”
One of the difficulties in that game for the team and for Ray was not being familiar with their opponent. Ray likes to be able to game plan for other team’s specific play-styles based on previous matchups.
“Now we know exactly what they want to do and we can plan for it,” Ray said. “That’s something I like to do more than go in blind, which is pretty much what we did.”
Unfamiliarity will be a problem for much of the season for Moffat County playing in a new league.
“Almost everybody in the league, we haven’t played ever before,” Ray said. “Like this game, Olathe, we’ve never played them. I’ve seen them and know they play hard man-to-man, but that’s it. The second round I think is to our advantage.”
The Bulldogs will have their hands full against Olathe, a team which plays pressure defense and is scoring over 52 points per game, 10 more than Moffat County has averaged this year.
Despite returning most of its depth from last year’s team, the Bulldogs are missing over 24 points per game from last year’s seniors, Melissa Camilletti and Annie Sadvar. So far this season, the Bulldogs have struggled to replace some of those points.
Lisa Camilletti has scored at least nine points in each game this season, but the rest of the scoring has been less consistent.
Whether the Bulldogs become a team with several players delivering balanced scoring or a few players carrying more of the load, more offensive identity would figure to help against a tough defensive team like Olathe.
“They’re scrappy and they play hard,” Ray said. “That’s been their trademark forever. They’ve always been tough in the 3A, year-in and year-out. They just always play hard and Friday night I don’t expect anything different. So we’ve got to play just as hard and just as intense.”
Against Grand Valley the girls team committed many turnovers against pressure defense, a problem Kori Finneman said was due to the teammates not providing enough support for each other.
“Taking the ball down we just left one girl behind and then she’s just by herself,” Finneman said after the game. “We need to bring more girls back to help.”
The girls basketball team takes on Olathe Friday at 3 p.m. (junior varsity) and 6 p.m. (varsity) in the MCHS gym, 900 Finley Lane.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.