Ary Shaffer goes up for a shot against Charli Earle at the girls basketball practice Wednesday. Both sophomores figure to be a part of a deep bench for the Moffat County team that will run opponents ragged this season.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Ary Shaffer goes up for a shot against Charli Earle at the girls basketball practice Wednesday. Both sophomores figure to be a part of a deep bench for the Moffat County team that will run opponents ragged this season.

Moffat County girls basketball using speed to beat out size

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Kaitlyan Reed drives to the hoop during a girls basketball practice earlier this week. The Moffat County girls basketball team is looking to replace the seven seniors lost from last season and repeat as Western Slope League champions in 2013-14.

2013-14 girls varsity basketball schedule

Dec. 6 and 7 at Uintah tournament in Vernal, Utah

Dec. 20 at Olathe, 6 p.m.

Dec. 21 vs. Gunnison, 2 p.m.

Jan. 11 at Aspen, 2 p.m.

Jan. 17 at Basalt, 6 p.m.

Jan. 18 at Cedaredge, 2 p.m.

Jan. 24 vs. Coal Ridge, 6 p.m.

Jan. 25 vs. Grand Valley, 2 p.m.

Jan. 28 at Roaring Fork in Carbondale, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 31 vs. Olathe, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 at Gunnison, 2 p.m.

Feb. 8 vs. Basalt, 2 p.m.

Feb. 11 vs. Aspen, 6 p.m.

Feb. 14 vs. Cedaredge, 6 p.m.

Feb. 15 vs. Roaring Fork, 2 p.m.

Feb. 21 at Coal Ridge in New Castle, 6 p.m.

Feb. 22 at Grand Valley in Parachute, 6 p.m.

— With new faces all across the court, the Moffat County girls basketball team may be difficult to recognize at the start of the 2013-14 season.

But the Bulldogs will ramp up their running style of basketball to another level this season and hope to be a Western Slope League contender again, after winning the league last year.

The Bulldogs lost seven seniors to graduation last year and have just two players on the team this year who played significant varsity minutes during last season. But they have extreme depth and speed on the roster for the coming season and will look to use both to their advantage this season.

“We want to sprint down the court and make teams tired,” senior guard Jazmine Swindler said. “When they’re tired, we won’t be because we’ve conditioned so much.”

Swindler and senior Allie Ehlers played big varsity minutes last year but will be surrounded by teammates with less or no experience at the varsity letter. That made the summer session of basketball and this preseason a learning opportunity for players and coaches alike.

“We’re molding and seeing what we’re all about,” head coach Matt Ray said. “Potentially, we could go about 14 (players) deep on the varsity with the younger kids.”

The Bulldogs don’t have the same experience level entering this year but have two more seniors, several juniors and a host of talented sophomores, which will give them a variety of options this season.

Moffat County will not have the presence inside that it did before, but Ray thinks the team is fast enough to overcome that.

“I know we’re pretty quick, and we will hopefully use that our advantage,” he said. “The goal is we put on a lot of pressure and make the other team make mistakes. Our team’s not very tall, so if it comes to the half-court game and they have big girls, we’re at a disadvantage.”

In scrimmages against Steamboat Springs and Green River, from Wyoming, the Bulldogs overcame size deficits through their aggressive and fast-paced play. That will be the formula for success this year.

Ray said the team’s plan to apply constant pressure likely will lead to lots of substituting to keep lineups fresh. That means getting productive minutes from the entire starting five and bench will be key. Swindler thinks they are ready to do just that.

“We did lose a lot of really good seniors, but I think this year, our team stepped up, and we’re really quick and we’re getting better,” Swindler said. “The younger girls have stepped it up, and they’re a really good class. I think we’ll be ready.”

With so many spots up for grabs, it has given the Bulldogs a competitive edge throughout their preseason, which makes them ready for the season to tip off.

“The sophomores are all fighting for a spot, so it makes them better because they all want those varsity spots,” Ehlers said. “We’ll have a lot of layup breaks, and if our 3s keep going in, we’ll be good.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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