The Moffat County High School girls basketball team will honor its seven seniors when it hosts Coal Ridge at 6 p.m. Friday. The seniors, from left: Makayla Camilletti, Lisa Camilletti, Kyleen Ellgen, Bailey Hellander, Tori Snyder, Kori Finneman and Sassy Murray.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

The Moffat County High School girls basketball team will honor its seven seniors when it hosts Coal Ridge at 6 p.m. Friday. The seniors, from left: Makayla Camilletti, Lisa Camilletti, Kyleen Ellgen, Bailey Hellander, Tori Snyder, Kori Finneman and Sassy Murray.

Lady Bulldogs and their seven seniors prepare for special night

Not to be forgotten...

Both Moffat County High School varsity basketball teams receive major contributions from students on the sidelines. Student trainers help the players and coaches in every way possible and are an indispensable part of the basketball programs. There are three senior trainers between the two teams this season. For the girls, Alison Douglas will be honored Friday during Senior Night. On the boys side, Kristina McLeslie and Erica Dilldine have been assisting the team for all four of their high school years, and they, too, will be recognized during Senior Night.

— When the Moffat County High School girls basketball team takes the court against Coal Ridge tonight, it will be much more than just another basketball game.

While the Bulldogs are guaranteed to be the top seed in next week’s district tournament (they lead second-place Olathe by two games), their home game against the Titans at 6 p.m. Friday has special meaning beyond the standings. It is Senior Night for the girls team, which will honor seven seniors who have been instrumental to the program’s success this year and in the recent past.

Senior Night is an occasion these seven girls have been part of for several years and across multiple sports, and now it’s their turn. Sassy Murray said it’s a strange feeling to be on the receiving end of Senior Night festivities.

“We’ve all been, in the past years, watching other girls graduate and have Senior Night, so it’s weird for us since we’re the ones being honored,” Murray said. “We’ve been looking forward to this a long time, it’s just weird since it’s happening now.”

The group of seven seniors is uncommonly large for a Class 3A school. The girls have been the core of a Moffat County team with a 15-3 record on the season. Their success goes all the way back to sixth grade, when all seven girls were playing basketball together.

The camaraderie born through seven years of hoops shows on and off the court.

“Senior Night’s cool because we’ve all stuck together and we’ve all been playing together and gotten really close,” Kyleen Ellgen said. “We’re friends on and off the court. We work so good together.”

The time together has provided success (making it to the round of 16 in last year’s 4A state tournament) and a host of memories, but it also makes today’s game all the more emotional.

The game “definitely makes it set in that this is our last year together,” Makayla Camilletti said. “These are the last games we’ll play together, I guess. It really is pretty sad though.”

“It’s going to be really sad and I’m going to cry,” Bailey Hellander said in anticipation of the introductions before the game.

While Senior Night will represent the end of an era — the team still has district, regional and possibly state tournaments to play in — it is also a positive experience.

“I think it’s really cool we have seven seniors this year,” Tori Snyder said. “That’s more than we’ve had in awhile, and (Senior Night) is a chance to play with everybody in front of a huge home crowd because it’s our last league home game.”

Lisa Camilletti echoed Snyder’s comments.

“I think it’s cool that all seven of us stuck it out and have played together,” she said. “It means so much to all of us, and basketball has brought us together.”

When Moffat County visited Coal Ridge in January, the Titans led by 11 at halftime and looked primed for an upset. But the Bulldogs buckled down and had a big fourth quarter to come away with the win.

They hope to play as well for an entire four quarters tonight.

“Senior Night’s really important because it’s our last home game,” Kori Finneman said. “We need to perform in front of our peers and our families. It’s our last one.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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