Craig Middle School girls basketball stays tough against Soroco | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School girls basketball stays tough against Soroco

7th-, 8th-grade teams prep for stretch of road games before districts

As their teams head into the final weeks of their schedule, the coaches of Craig Middle School girls basketball already are anticipating that players will be prepared for the next level.

CMS saw varied results Thursday while hosting Soroco, the Rams gaining the edge early and scoring often against the seventh-grade teams and the eighth-grade B-Team, while eighth-grade A-Team walked away with the only win of the night.

Seventh-grade coaches Jason Buhrman and Lauryn Calafiore were hoping to add to their A-Team's recent hot streak after last week's win against Baggs, Wyoming, and a Saturday face-off in Steamboat Springs that the Bulldogs won, 22-20, in double overtime, culminating in sudden death.

"Their heads were really in the game in Steamboat," Calafiore said.

The results weren't as close Thursday, as a 41-9 loss for the B-Team was followed by another, 40-21, for the A-Team against the Oak Creek squads.

Buhrman said the group "came out timid."

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"A lot of turnovers, and we weren't being our aggressive selves today," he said.

Players tended to leave their opponents wide open while on defense, he added, attributing that to some confusion about man-to-man defense as well as a full-court press run by Soroco that was all new to CMS girls.

"We rebounded well and got some good shots, but we've got to focus on getting that little bit extra and make sure that ball goes in, that's where we're getting stuck," he said.

The eighth-grade B-Team had the same kind of issues, as the Rams took the game, 34-21, against a roster missing many players due to illness.

To cap off the night, A-Team claimed another victory on the heels of its own 29-9 win in Steamboat, beating the Rams, 38-13. A zone defense to start things off wasn't working quite the way it was intended in the first half, but the Bulldogs were able to adapt to Soroco's offense and shut it down.

"I don't think we were warmed up very good, but then we were seeing what kinds of shots they were taking, so we were popping out and guarding them," Bailey Lawton said.

This was the last set of home games for the Bulldogs, on the road for the rest of the season, playing Meeker and Glenwood Springs on Saturday in a small, three-team tournament in Meeker.

Following games in Oak Creek, Rangely and Rawlins, Wyoming, the district tournament will lead them back to Meeker on Feb. 14, and no matter who they're meeting, players intend to make it competitive.

"We're going to make sure our shots fall and keep going hard," Lawton said.

Eighth-grade coach Candi Hellander has seen the group improve consistently in the past two years, and now that they're nearing the end of their middle school run, she knows those that go on to Moffat County High School hoops will be a great addition to the program.

"We've got a great set of girls, and some will continue on, some won't but they're going to be contenders," she said. "It'll be really fun to watch them play."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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