Seventh-, eighth-grade A-teams finish undefeated

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The members of the Craig Middle School girls basketball seventh- and eighth-grade basketball gather together for a group picture during their victory celebration Thursday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center. Both the seventh- and eighth-grade A-teams, as well as the eighth-grade B-team, placed first in the district tournament Saturday.

Results ...

Results from CMS girls basketball district tournament

Seventh-grade A-team: 1st

Season record: 13-0

Eighth-grade A-team: 1st

Season record: 12-0

Seventh-grade B-team: 2nd

Season record: 3-6

Eighth-grade B-team: 1st

Season record: 6-3

Craig Middle School seventh-grader Sidney Ferguson found herself in the right place at the right time Saturday afternoon in Meeker.

The place: close enough to her team’s hoop to snag a rebound and toss it in the basket.

The time: less than a minute to play in the district basketball tournament.

Ferguson’s jump shot, which she attributed to more luck than anything, put her team up 32-31 in the final game of the Bulldogs’ season to claim first place in the tourney, one of many victories of the day.

Both CMS’s seventh- and eighth girls A-teams won their brackets in the district tournament. Both squads also completed an undefeated season, 13-0 for the seventh-graders and 12-0 for eighth-grade.

Eighth-grade coach Alicia Townsend said her group of girls did very well under the pressure of maintaining a season without losses, as did the 6-3 B-team, who also won the tournament.

“B-team really came out, turned it on and did everything we were trying to teach them all season,” she said. “Both teams were just great on offense and defense.”

The eighth-graders defeated Steamboat Springs 51-18 to win the final game of the tournament after a much closer 35-12 match against Meeker.

“The first game we weren’t really awake, but after that we were playing a lot better together as a team,” eighth-grader Morgan Lawton said.

Lawton said she and her teammates were excited about the win but even more excited about the fact that it was a repeat of their win at districts in 2011 as seventh-graders.

Craig’s only loss of the tournament was the seventh-grade B-team, which fell to Steamboat despite players from the eighth-grade team filling in some slots. The A-team experienced two of its closest games of the season in the tournament, taking on challengers who knew how to adjust to their skill set.

“We played Meeker first and that was 39-28, and then we played Rangely for the championship and we won by one point, 32-31,” coach Candi Hellander said. “Rangely has a good team and a good coach and never gave up. They were always putting on the pressure and trying to force turnovers. Sidney Ferguson was filling in for Mattie Jo Duzik and put in a great little shot to win it for us.”

Ferguson said teammate Alex Hamilton provided her the chance to win the game.

“Alex went in for a layup and missed it, and I caught the rebound, so I just shot it and it went in,” she said. “The best part of it was just everybody being so excited.”

For Hamilton, the most exciting part was in facing the biggest challenges of the season.

“The game against Rangely was just so close, and they were playing really intense and they had definitely improved,” she said.

Hamilton and teammate Josey King said despite the perfect season, there is still plenty to build on for next year, such as crashing the boards consistently.

“We really need to work the ball a lot more, too,” King said.

Hellander said she expects another good season as her team moves on to eighth-grade, but she hopes to round out the roster a little.

“We finished the season with only 15 girls, so I hope we’re able to have a little more in number next year,” she said. “I think they’ll do well, even though we have some tough teams. We’re not very tall, but maybe they’ll get some more height and eat a little more over the summer.”

Townsend will be saying farewell to her team as they make the transition to high school hoops starting this fall.

“They’ve already done some drills with Matt Ray, so they know what to expect for a high school offense and that’s what they’ve already been running,” she said. “I know they’re all going to do great. They’ll be going to camps in the summer and as long as they work hard, they’re going to go far.”

Lawton said she is looking forward to the basketball program at Moffat County High School.

“We’ll be playing with people who have a lot of experience, and we’ll really be able to learn from them,” she said.

Craig Middle School seventh-grader Sidney Ferguson found herself in the right place at the right time Saturday afternoon in Meeker.

The place: close enough to her team’s hoop to snag a rebound and toss it in the basket.

The time: less than a minute to play in the district basketball tournament.

Ferguson’s jump shot, which she attributed to more luck than anything, put her team up 32-31 in the final game of the Bulldogs’ season to claim first place in the tourney, one of many victories of the day.

Both CMS’s seventh- and eighth girls A-teams won their brackets in the district tournament. Both squads also completed an undefeated season, 13-0 for the seventh-graders and 12-0 for eighth-grade.

Eighth-grade coach Alicia Townsend said her group of girls did very well under the pressure of maintaining a season without losses, as did the 6-3 B-team, who also won the tournament.

“B-team really came out, turned it on and did everything we were trying to teach them all season,” she said. “Both teams were just great on offense and defense.”

The eighth-graders defeated Steamboat Springs 51-18 to win the final game of the tournament after a much closer 35-12 match against Meeker.

“The first game we weren’t really awake, but after that we were playing a lot better together as a team,” eighth-grader Morgan Lawton said.

Lawton said she and her teammates were excited about the win but even more excited about the fact that it was a repeat of their win at districts in 2011 as seventh-graders.

Craig’s only loss of the tournament was the seventh-grade B-team, which fell to Steamboat despite players from the eighth-grade team filling in some slots. The A-team experienced two of its closest games of the season in the tournament, taking on challengers who knew how to adjust to their skill set.

“We played Meeker first and that was 39-28, and then we played Rangely for the championship and we won by one point, 32-31,” coach Candi Hellander said. “Rangely has a good team and a good coach and never gave up. They were always putting on the pressure and trying to force turnovers. Sidney Ferguson was filling in for Mattie Jo Duzik and put in a great little shot to win it for us.”

Ferguson said teammate Alex Hamilton provided her the chance to win the game.

“Alex went in for a layup and missed it, and I caught the rebound, so I just shot it and it went in,” she said. “The best part of it was just everybody being so excited.”

For Hamilton, the most exciting part was in facing the biggest challenges of the season.

“The game against Rangely was just so close, and they were playing really intense and they had definitely improved,” she said.

Hamilton and teammate Josey King said despite the perfect season, there is still plenty to build on for next year, such as crashing the boards consistently.

“We really need to work the ball a lot more, too,” King said.

Hellander said she expects another good season as her team moves on to eighth-grade, but she hopes to round out the roster a little.

“We finished the season with only 15 girls, so I hope we’re able to have a little more in number next year,” she said. “I think they’ll do well, even though we have some tough teams. We’re not very tall, but maybe they’ll get some more height and eat a little more over the summer.”

Townsend will be saying farewell to her team as they make the transition to high school hoops starting this fall.

“They’ve already done some drills with Matt Ray, so they know what to expect for a high school offense and that’s what they’ve already been running,” she said. “I know they’re all going to do great. They’ll be going to camps in the summer and as long as they work hard, they’re going to go far.”

Lawton said she is looking forward to the basketball program at Moffat County High School.

“We’ll be playing with people who have a lot of experience, and we’ll really be able to learn from them,” she said.

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