With important games coming up after winter break, the Moffat County basketball teams will scrimmage this weekend to prepare.
The boys and girls host Aspen High School on Jan. 12 at Moffat County High School in another important Western Slope League matchup.
For the boys team, it is an especially big game. Aspen is the defending WSL champ and atop the league standings again this season. The game has significance for the Bulldogs’ league and postseason aspirations.
Because of the game’s importance, both Moffat County teams want to be prepared to the best of their abilities. To help get ready, they each have scheduled scrimmages.
The girls will host Meeker Jan. 4 in Craig, and the boys will travel to Rifle to scrimmage the Bears and Hayden on Jan. 5.
The scrimmages will provide challenges for both teams. Meeker’s girls team is 6-0 and one of the top-ranked teams in 2A basketball. For the boys, Rifle is a strong 4A team, and Hayden beat the Bulldogs in summer league games in July and August.
Regardless of the outcome of the games, Moffat County’s coaches are happy to give their players time on the court before returning to games that count.
“It will be a good scrimmage for us and Meeker,” girls basketball coach Matt Ray said. “It’s just to play game-like before you actually have a game, which is really big. Sometimes, you come off break, and you’re a little rusty.”
Boys head coach Eric Hamilton echoed Ray’s comments, saying he thinks the scrimmages will be valuable to get the teams back to a high level of play.
“If we do go down there and play terrible, at least we got it done in a scrimmage,” Hamilton said. “You don’t want to play terrible ever, but it’s like taking the rust off with a no-consequence scrimmage. Then we’re ready for Aspen, which is such an important game for us.”
The boys team will look to get into high-tempo games against Rifle and Hayden to be more prepared for the frantic pace it wants to play when the season resumes.
For the girls team, improved shooting will be important, but the lady Bulldogs also are expecting players to return from injury and see their strength return.
Seniors Makayla Camilletti, Tori Snyder and Sassy Murray have missed time this year because of injuries. Camilletti had shoulder surgery in the fall and still is building strength in her arm, Ray said, but she is close to 100 percent. Snyder suffered a concussion while the team played in Vernal to start the season and was limited for a couple of games but will be able to go at full capacity when the season resumes.
Murray also was injured in Vernal and has sat out since. The guard is looking to return in time for the Meeker scrimmage, and hopes to see increased minutes as she gets back to full health.
All those additions will help the team’s cause, Ray said, but playing at full pace against a quality opponent will do the team even better.
“It’s good to just get back in sync before it counts,” he said.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or email@example.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.