No basketball game is a guaranteed victory.
But, the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team’s contest today at Eagle Valley High School is the Bulldogs to lose, head coach Matt Ray said.
MCHS beat the Devils, 57-27, on Jan. 13 at home, and as the Bulldogs prepare for their second trip through the Western Slope League, Ray said his players need to keep improving.
“The biggest thing we need to do is play at our level and not (Eagle Valley’s),” Ray said. “We want to go in there and run our game plan.”
Ray said the Bulldogs (11-6 overall, 4-2 WSL) have set goals as a team to obtain throughout the game to ensure everyone is still running on all cylinders.
“We want to work our offense and be patient by not rushing things and doing things well,” he said. “We will take fast breaks if they are clear, but we want to make sure we are still improving ourselves for when we play better overall teams.”
Offensively, Ray said the Devils (4-14 overall, 1-7 WSL) would have to stop the Bulldogs’ post play.
“We are going to take advantage of what (Eagle Valley) gives us, so we are going to start inside with our post and make them stop us there,” he said. “If they slow that down, we will knock it outside and take good, wide open shots. We want to have less turnovers than last game and not rush things.”
In the last game, the Bulldogs held Eagle Valley to nine points in the first half.
Ray said the key to limiting the Devils’ offensive attack is to take away their strengths.
“They like to work the ball on the right side, so we need to take away the right while not letting them penetrate on the left,” he said. “We have to get a hand in their face and limit how many times we send them to the free throw line.
“If we play fundamental offense and defense, they shouldn’t be a threat.”
MCHS boys look to avenge previous loss
On Jan. 13, the MCHS boys varsity basketball team struggled to overcome Eagle Valley’s full-court press in a 65-47 loss.
The Bulldogs will have another chance to break the Devils’ pressure defense today at Eagle Valley.
Head coach Eric Hamilton said getting his team’s offense going was the biggest priority heading into the second game.
“The press hurt us quite a bit last time, but I think we have definitely improved by working on our press breaks,” he said.
“We got in a hurry and weren’t ready for (Eagle Valley’s) athleticism or quickness.
“We are going to have to work the ball up the court as a team with quick passes and an aggressive offense.”
Hamilton said facing a team for a second time in a season allows him to know his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, but the same applies for the Eagle Valley coaches.
The Bulldogs (3-12 overall, 1-5 WSL) will have their hands full with the Devils, who are 13-5 overall and 6-2 in the WSL.
Eagle Valley trails Palisade by a game in the league race.
“We know they are going to be much improved and will be a big challenge, but I feel we are much improved as well,” Hamilton said. “We are going to have to keep battling this second half of the season to get some big wins in our competitive league.”
If the Bulldogs can contain Eagle Valley’s post players, who scored 80 percent of the points Jan. 13, Hamilton said Moffat County’s offense will have a chance to keep it close.
The key, he said, will be patience.
“We need to be aggressive on both sides of the ball, but make sure we are patient and smart,” Hamilton said. “If we can beat the press, then we can work for a good shot.
“But, we can’t let them speed us up and make us run an offense we aren’t capable of running.”
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