Bulldogs scrimmage Rifle, Coal Ridge | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs scrimmage Rifle, Coal Ridge

MCHS girls basketball team preparing for season opener in Utah

Matt Ray, Moffat County High School girls basketball coach, discusses strategy with his team during a recent practice. The Bulldogs scrimmaged Coal Ridge and host Rifle on Saturday to get some competitive play in before the start of the season.

Having been off the basketball court competitively for about nine months, Moffat County High School seniors Maddy Jourgensen and Callie Papoulas were ready to get back into the swing of things.

Over the weekend, they got the chance to ease back into the game before the season's official start.

The girls basketball team participated in a three-team scrimmage Saturday at Rifle High School, facing off against the host Bears and the Coal Ridge Titans.

The Bulldogs played each opposing team for two 20-minute quarters. Scores were not kept in accordance with Colorado High School Activities Association rules.

Bulldogs coach Matt Ray said the scrimmage was an "eye-opener" because it was a quick evaluation of how the team handled competition.

"We got the chance to see our strong points and weak points and fine tune it," he said. "We were definitely strong on bringing the ball down and getting it in the post."

Ray said the "glaring weakness" his team had throughout the day was in press breaks, their handling of pressure put on them by the

opposing defense.

"It's really the key thing we'll need to work on at practices this week," he said.

Jourgensen said she noticed the same flaw with the team's press breaks, as well as some personal aspects she feels she needs to improve.

"I think I just need to be more aggressive and really go at them," she said. "Rifle played a lot harder. They always have a pretty good team."

Jourgensen added that not having to worry about the score of the scrimmage made it easier to focus on playing her best.

"People just hustle more and everybody has a better attitude," she said.

Papoulas said she had "a little bit of a hot streak," though she was disappointed with one area of the game.

"We all needed to work on getting more rebounds," she said. "Our defense is pretty good, but we need to crash

the boards."

Papoulas said the scrimmage was helpful for the team as a whole because it let them see how well they worked together.

"We really clicked as a team, plus, we're all in good shape," she said.

One of the most important objectives for the scrimmage was to provide Ray with a better idea of which players will start on the varsity squad.

"It sure has helped me narrow it down to six or seven girls, but I haven't decided anything for sure," he said.

Jourgensen said she hoped to start on the varsity team, but she is unsure if she will be guaranteed a spot.

"It'll probably change week to week," she said.

The team's first game of the season is Friday and Saturday at the Uintah High School Tournament in Vernal, Utah.

Papoulas said she expects the team to perform well.

"I think we'll have a good season and the first tournament should show that," she said. "We've been working hard this year and we deserve to have a good season."

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 875-1795 or at abockelman@craigdailypress.com.