Sophomore Miguel Cruz goes to the basket during Moffat County High School boys basketball practice Friday morning. Cruz and the Bulldogs are playing again after taking time off for winter break.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Sophomore Miguel Cruz goes to the basket during Moffat County High School boys basketball practice Friday morning. Cruz and the Bulldogs are playing again after taking time off for winter break.

Moffat County boys start working for season's second half

Quotable...

“We’re going to work on a lot of the fundamentals over the next few days and just try to make sure we get back into shape. I don’t think they got too much out of shape, but we’ll do a lot of running drills."

-MCHS boys basketball coach Eric Hamilton, about the team's return to practicing from break

It’s time for the Moffat County boys basketball team to get back to work.

The Bulldogs enjoyed a 6-1 start to the season before winter break, an almost-perfect way to begin a season for which the players and coaches have high hopes. Now they will look to continue that after taking some time off.

The Colorado High School Activities Association has rules for winter sports that stipulates athletes and coaches cannot have contact for a certain amount of time over the holidays. With the Bulldogs returning to non-mandatory open gyms today, the key will be making sure their time off does not slow their improvement.

“The break, you never know what’s going to happen after the break,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “It’s a big layoff and you don’t know what these kids are doing (during that time). It’s good to get back into the gym now.”

In their six wins Moffat County’s fast pace of play has been a major factor, especially when the team uses its full-court pressure defense to speed the entire game up and get easier baskets.

Hamilton said making sure the team is still in shape to keep running opponents ragged will be a key.

“We’re going to work on a lot of the fundamentals over the next few days and just try to make sure we get back into shape,” he said. “I don’t think they got too much out of shape, but we’ll do a lot of running drills, with skill development as well.”

The open-gyms began Friday and go through the weekend, before the Bulldogs will have a couple days off for the New Year, then get back to practicing in earnest Jan. 2.

Junior guard Taft Cleverly thinks the time off will be a benefit to the team.

“I think we need a little time to relax and recharge,” Cleverly said. “Now we need to get back to it though, get working.”

The team had a good turnout to it’s first non-mandatory practice, with most of the varsity players accounted for. Those that weren’t in attendance were still out of town, Hamilton said.

“We’re missing a few kids that have told me they were away,” he said. “Most anybody who’s not here is out of town with family, which is fine. Otherwise it’s good to see these guys.”

Cleverly said he doesn’t think the Bulldogs will lose their stride because of the downtime. They are all still focused on keeping their winning ways rolling.

“We came into break with good momentum, and I think you’ve just got to be thinking about the next game and how to prepare for it.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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