MCHS basketball teams prepare for Delta

If you go …

What: Moffat County High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams v. Delta High School

When: Girls — 6 p.m. today

When: Boys — 7:30 p.m. today

Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

— Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students

Just like a year ago, one of the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team’s biggest games this season is against Delta.

The Bulldogs tripped up against Glenwood Springs on Jan. 7 in a 60-47 loss and Delta posted a 56-49 win over the Demons on Saturday.

If Moffat County beats Delta today at home, it would create a three-way tie atop the Western Slope League between the three teams who shared the title in 2011.

“It is very important to be able to go in and win this game,” head coach Matt Ray said Wednesday. “If we win, worst-case scenario is playing for a three-way tie at the end of the season, but if we win out, we would be league champs.”

“We want to be in the driver’s seat, not hoping people win and lose.”

The Bulldogs (9-5 overall, 2-1 WSL) are coming off a two-game WSL win streak over the weekend, beating Eagle Valley at home and winning at Battle Mountain.

Ray said his players gained momentum from the weekend and plan to use it today.

“We are sitting good after a good week of practice,” he said. “I think everyone is on the same page and we are all reaching our goals at this point in the season.”

Ray said junior Skylyn Webb would be the biggest threat from Delta (12-2 overall, 4-0 WSL).

Webb is averaging 16.3 points per game for the Panthers.

“We have to know where Webb is at and not let her get open or penetrate inside,” he said. “(Delta) likes to use fast breaks and if we can stop that, we can control the game.”

Offensively, Ray said the Bulldogs need to get their sets going right from the tip.

“We need to focus on our shots early and build confidence on that,” he said. “If we can do that and hold it through the game, we will be fine.”

Control the tempo

The MCHS boy varsity basketball team is coming of its first WSL victory of season Saturday at Battle Mountain, and head coach Eric Hamilton said his team needs to be able to build on the win.

The Bulldogs struggled the night before at home against Eagle Valley, but Hamilton said the Bulldogs were able to bounce back and play tough in a 53-39 win over the Huskies.

However, Hamilton said Delta would present a similar match-up to Eagle Valley.

“Like Eagle Valley, (the Delta) players are really athletic guys and the team is deep,” Hamilton said. “They have four or five guys who are around 6 foot, 4 inches, who can run and jump. We have to be ready for a tough game.”

Hamilton said the key for the Bulldogs (3-9 overall, 1-2 WSL) is going to be playing smart defense and controlling the tempo of the game.

“We are going to have to have the whole team step up and play four quarters,” he said. “We have to play great defense and not let them run away, but stay with them and apply pressure.

“We don’t want to slow the game down, but we want to be able to control it.”

Defensively, Hamilton said the Bulldogs need to look for open shot and not force shots when pressured.

“We need to build things up and work the ball as much as we need to,” he said. “We don’t want to do things we aren’t capable of, so we need to focus on what we can do.”

Beating the Huskies, Hamilton said, has restored focus for his team.

Delta (9-5 overall, 2-2 WSL) will be battling to move up in the league standings, and Hamilton said it would be one of the biggest games this season.

“Last week was tough for us with four games, but we are focused this week,” he said. “We had a good week of practice and know this will be a tough league game, so the guys need to step up.”

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