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Sheridan at Moffat County
3A regional semifinal
7:30 p.m. Friday
Winner plays on Saturday the winner of Bishop Machebeuf vs. Fort Lupton
When the boys basketball teams take the court tonight for the regional semifinal, Moffat County will be heavily favored to win. But the Bulldogs will be up against an opponent playing its best basketball of the season with nothing to lose.
Moffat County’s foe in the round of 32 is Sheridan High School out of Denver, which finished the season 9-14 and 6-6 in the competitive 3A Frontier League. While not many teams make the regional tournament with a losing record, the Rams are a unique case. After starting the season 1-8, they began to find their way and finished the season on an 8-6 run, including earning the sixth and final Frontier League spot in the district tournament.
Part of the reason for the Rams’ turnaround is their adjustment period after having to switch coaches after the season started.
“It’s taken us a while to get on the same page,” Sheridan coach Michael Granderson said. “We lost a lot of games early because of that, but we’re starting to come around.”
Granderson took over after the original head coach’s schedule made it impossible for him to continue. After the bad start, the Rams began to find their shooting range and have consistently scored more points, even in their losses. They beat Jefferson High School, 111-95, less than a month ago.
“That’s come from understanding what a good shot is,” Granderson said. “We’re not very big so we had to develop shooting. They recognize better shots and better shot selection now.”
Moffat County coach Eric Hamilton has taken notice of the Rams’ recent success.
“We know they’re quick, they’re not that big, but they’re fast and it looks like they’ve really been playing good basketball at the end of the year,” he said.
Still, the coach believes if Moffat County plays to its potential the team will be successful against Sheridan. So the Bulldogs are working this week to maintain the level of play they showed against Cedaredge, Grand Valley and Aspen on the way to a district championship.
“We’re really just focusing on our basketball,” Hamilton said. “We want to stay hungry and stay sharp this week. We’re going to play Moffat County ball no matter what.”
Granderson also wants his players to focus on themselves instead of the opponent. Regardless of the quality of their opponent, the Sheridan coach said they are happy to have the playoff opportunity.
“It’s an honor to be in the playoffs. Sheridan’s really small and hasn’t had a lot of success,” Granderson said. “Anytime we get to go somewhere and have a challenge, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.