Editorial: Hardwood harmony

Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Bridget Manley

— Newspaper representative

• Chris Nichols

— Community representative

• Jeff Pleasant

— Community representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

Kudos to the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team for winning a share of the league title for a second straight season. Also, assistant coach Norm Yoast deserves praise for keeping the team on track during a coach’s absence. And, after several sub-par seasons and a revolving door of coaches, things are finally looking up for the varsity boys.

If you’re a Moffat County High School basketball fan, there’s a lot to be happy about — both for what’s currently happening on the hardwood and the potential for what could happen in the future.

This week, the big story is the MCHS girls varsity basketball team, which earned a share of the Western Slope League title for a second consecutive year, and a No. 3 seed in the state tournament.

The Bulldogs, 17-6 overall and 10-2 in the WSL, begin postseason play Friday against the winner of the No. 6 Thompson Valley/No. 11 Frederick game at Centaurus High School in Lafayette.

Led by coach Matt Ray, who inherited and has sustained a successful program from longtime MCHS coach Craig Mortensen, girls basketball has become the flagship athletic program at MCHS.

The editorial board congratulates the players and coaching staff of the girls team, and wishes them well on their march through the postseason.

Board members also wanted to use this opinion piece to highlight the contribution from an assistant coach, a contribution that kept the Bulldogs on pace to grab a piece of the WSL title.

Norm Yoast, a science teacher at Craig Middle School, girls freshmen coach and an assistant to the varsity, recently filled in two games for Ray, who missed games due to a death in the family.

Yoast led the Bulldogs to road wins against Delta and Palisade. Delta, in particular, was a key game, allowing the Bulldogs to keep pace in the league chase.

A day later, Yoast guided the Bulldogs to a win over Palisade in what set up as a classic trap game.

Ray has done a fantastic job this season on the sideline, and when called upon Yoast pinch hit for Ray admirably.

The Bulldogs are riding an eight-game winning streak into this week’s playoff game, meaning they have momentum.

Here’s hoping MCHS can close the season with a 13-game streak.

Five more wins and our Bulldogs are cutting down the nets and bringing a much-needed state title home to Craig and Moffat County.

With this team and coaching staff, such a goal isn’t out of reach.

Bulldog boys on the right track, too

The editorial board would be remiss if it didn’t take this opportunity to also commend the MCHS boys varsity basketball program for positive strides made this season.

The Bulldogs have endured three straight losing seasons, including last season’s low-water mark of 2-20 overall.

But, stability and improvement came this year.

First-year coach Eric Hamilton, an MCHS grad and the former Hayden girls varsity hoops coach, stepped in this season and guided the boys at his alma mater to a 6-16 mark overall and 3-9 in the league.

The record wasn’t sparkling, but it’s a good foundation for rebuilding the program.

This year’s team had a good mix of upper- and underclassmen, but also featured six freshmen on the varsity roster and a sophomore in the starting five.

That’s seven players with varsity experience early in their high school careers, a nice nucleus to build on for the future.

Congratulations to coach Hamilton for tripling last year’s win total, and we hope to see more strides made in the program next year.

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