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Moffat County at Olathe
Girls 6 p.m., boys 7:30 p.m., Friday
Gunnison at Moffat County
Girls 2 p.m., boys 3:30 p.m., Saturday
After 2-1 starts to each of their seasons, the Moffat County basketball teams are gearing up for the important part of the year as the 3A Western Slope League season gets underway.
League play will occur mostly after winter break in 2014, but the Bulldogs basketball teams will play an away and a home game before taking time off from the sport. In front of them are games at Olathe on Friday and in Craig against Gunnison on Saturday.
For the girls basketball team, taking on Olathe on the road in the first league game will be a tall task. The Pirates finished second in the league last year behind Moffat County and gave them a tight game all three times they played. Despite losing several seniors, they have picked up where they left off, with a 3-1 start.
“I feel like this game is maybe the most important game of the season,” said senior Cheianne Pinnt. “Olathe is one of the best teams in the league and in order for us to be the best we need to work hard and beat them.”
Gunnison was near the bottom of the WSL last season and has started 2013-14 winless so far. Pinnt thinks the Bulldogs need to be using their speed as much as possible to have a successful start.
For the boys basketball team, the matchups look easier on paper. Olathe and Gunnison have combined to go 1-7 so far and were both in the bottom half of the league last year. But the Bulldogs struggled with both teams in back-to-back games a year ago.
They beat Gunnison by nine at home the day after winning in Olathe, 36-35. That was Moffat County’s lowest scoring game of the season by far.
“We were half asleep and didn’t come out very strong at all" vs. Olathe, said junior Denton Taylor. “We can’t let that happen again 'cause we can’t take anybody for granted or we’ll end up losing.”
Whereas the tournaments each team played in to start the season were a good way to get back into the flow of a varsity game, they don’t matter in the same way as the upcoming contests. League games determine seeding in the district playoffs, with the top four advancing to regionals. Winning the league also makes a team likely to host regional games in the playoffs.
Bulldogs players are excited to get the meat of their season going and to play in front of a home crowd for the first time.
“That should be pretty exciting,” Taylor said. “Hopefully we get a lot of people there and give them a reason to show up for the rest of the season.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.