Boys basketball head coach Eric Hamilton watches his team go through a drill at practice Friday in Craig. With Friday's games vs. Olathe postponed until Monday, both Bulldogs basketball teams practiced to stay sharp. They begin the second half of their Western Slope League seasons Monday in Craig.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Boys basketball head coach Eric Hamilton watches his team go through a drill at practice Friday in Craig. With Friday's games vs. Olathe postponed until Monday, both Bulldogs basketball teams practiced to stay sharp. They begin the second half of their Western Slope League seasons Monday in Craig.

Moffat County basketball looking to use home court to win league titles

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3A girls basketball standings

Grand Valley 8-1

Olathe 8-2

Coal Ridge 7-3

Moffat County 5-3

Cedaredge 6-4

Gunnison 4-5

Roaring Fork 2-7

Aspen 0-8

Basalt 0-7

3A boys basketball standings

Aspen 8-0

Moffat County 7-1

Coal Ridge 6-4

Grand Valley 5-4

Roaring Fork 5-4

Gunnison 4-5

Cedaredge 4-6

Basalt 1-6

Olathe 0-10

At the midway point of their league season both Moffat County basketball teams are in good position but have plenty of work still to do to be at the top of the standings at the end of February.

The boys team is 7-1 and in second place behind 8-0 Aspen, which beat Moffat County in Aspen on Jan. 11. The Bulldogs will have a chance to even the series when Aspen comes to Craig on Feb. 11, but they can’t look past any of their opponents before or after that game.

“We can’t let anybody beat us or I think we’re done as far as winning the league,” boys head coach Eric Hamilton said. “If we beat (Aspen), we could at least tie, and maybe if another team can take them, we could win the league.”

The Skiers have played in several close games this year but have come out on top of the best Western Slope League foes every time. Behind them and Moffat County is a logjam of teams fighting for third place. Coal Ridge, Grand Valley, Roaring Fork, Gunnison and Cedaredge are all within two games of each other, led by Coal Ridge at 6-4.

After being dominated by Aspen, the Bulldogs have been playing their best basketball of the season in the past couple weeks.

“Everyone feels pretty good about what we’re doing,” senior Taft Cleverly said. “The last stretch (of games) we’ve been coming together and playing well. It’s giving everyone confidence.”

Cleverly said the Bulldogs need to maintain the edge they’ve had lately to beat the teams lower in the standings that are hoping to knock off a top opponent.

The girls basketball team’s road so far hasn’t been as smooth, but the team is 5-3 in WSL play, good for fourth place in the league. Despite that position, senior Jazmine Swindler said they still are in the hunt for the top spot.

“We have lost games, but we just need to pull together and play the way we can,” she said. “We’ve been in every game. I think we can beat all those teams and maybe win league.”

The Bulldogs will need to pick up wins against the teams in front of them, but they will have an advantage in doing so, with six of their final eight games this season coming at home.

“I think we’re sitting pretty good due to the fact that we’ve got home games,” head coach Matt Ray said. “It’s always hard to beat us at home, and almost every game between the teams in our league has been close. Usually the home team has won, because you have to play really well to get a win on the road.”

Moffat County is one of five teams that could make a bid to unseat Grand Valley, which currently leads the WSL, 8-1. Moffat County plays the Cardinals, Olathe and Cedaredge, all three teams it has lost to, at home in the next month.

The second half starts Monday vs. Olathe, when Moffat County could pick up a win to bolster its chances. Swindler thinks they have a good chance to do so.

“We’ll have Allie (Ehlers) for that game, so that helps us a lot having one of our best players,” she said, referencing Ehlers not playing in the December game in Olathe. “We’ve just got to keep up our hustle and not let them get in the double bonus to make so many free throws.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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