MCHS basketball teams head to Montrose before winter break | CraigDailyPress.com

MCHS basketball teams head to Montrose before winter break

Joshua Gordon

Taft Cleverly, a Moffat County High School sophomore, runs the court Friday during the Steamboat Springs Shootout. Eric Hamilton, the MCHS boys varsity basketball team’s head coach, said the Bulldogs offense and transition game will be key during the Black Canyon Classic today and Saturday at Montrose High School.





Taft Cleverly, a Moffat County High School sophomore, runs the court Friday during the Steamboat Springs Shootout. Eric Hamilton, the MCHS boys varsity basketball team's head coach, said the Bulldogs offense and transition game will be key during the Black Canyon Classic today and Saturday at Montrose High School.
Joshua Gordon

If you go …

What: Moffat County High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams in the Black Canyon Classic

When: Girls — 7 p.m. today, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday

When: Boys — 8:30 p.m. today, 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Montrose High School, 600 S. Selig Ave.

­— An all-tournament pass is $14 for adults and $12 for students. Today's games are $7 for adults and $6 for students and Saturday's game are $8 for adults and $7 for students.

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The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team will suit up for the final time in 2011 this weekend during the Black Canyon Classic at Montrose High School.

The Bulldogs will have a break in their schedule for the holidays before picking back up Jan. 5 against Central Grand Junction High School.

Head coach Matt Ray said it's important for his team to head into the break with confidence.

"It is pretty important that we play well so we can go into the break on a high note," he said. "If they play well this weekend, it will be encouraging and they will keep working hard as we head into January."

The Bulldogs play Montrose at 7 p.m. today, and Grand Junction at 11 a.m. and Fruita-Monument at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Montrose is a fellow Class 4A school with MCHS, but Grand Junction and Fruita-Monument are 5A schools.

Ray said playing the bigger schools only makes his team better.

"We see great teams and great competition when we play bigger schools," he said. "We proved we could play with anyone in Steamboat last weekend, so we need to keep pushing to get to the next level before league play."

Ray said Montrose and Grand Junction will play a man-to-man defense, a set the Bulldogs offense has had success against earlier in the season.

Fruita-Monument, however, will use a lot of dribble penetration, an attack Fossil Ridge used in Steamboat en route to a 53-40 victory over MCHS.

"These early tournaments help keep us mentally sharp," Ray said. "We don't want to play down to the 3A schools because they may not make us as strong. We need to stay physically and mentally ready."

The girls team is 3-3 after the tournament in Steamboat Springs and one in Vernal, Utah, earlier in December.

Ray said after the first two weekends, the players need to work on getting back on defense faster.

"When teams would go on fast breaks, they hurt us and made runs to stay in the game," he said. "Everyone is starting to find their position and each game we are getting better. I think we are in a good position so far this season."

Team unity

Eric Hamilton said after the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team's first victory in Steamboat Springs, the Bulldogs had a let down in a loss against Castle View.

Hamilton, the Bulldogs head coach, said his team was tired and didn't shoot well in the fifth- and sixth-place game.

But, the team is "fired up" and ready go for the Black Canyon Classic, he said.

"Tournaments give us a chance to play three games in a quick hurry and it is a good start to our season," Hamilton said. "We don't get to work on stuff in between games, so we have to learn to improve quick."

The Bulldogs (1-2) play Montrose at 8:30 p.m. today before taking on Olathe and Denver North at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.

Hamilton said having a solid tournament against three good teams would only help his team improve.

"Being able to hang with good teams would be a huge confidence builder for us," he said. "All the guys have put in a heck of a workout each day at practice this week and we know that Montrose is outstanding, so we need to go and play well before our break."

Offense was the main focus this week, Hamilton said, after turnovers and missed opportunities hurt the team in Steamboat.

"We need to have more offensive continuity," he said. "If we can get a smoothness to our offense and transition better, I think it will help our overall game."

Hamilton said he didn't want his squad playing teams they could win easily over, but doesn't want to see any blowouts this weekend either.

Playing against bigger schools requires everyone playing their role, he said.

"Last weekend, each player learned a little more about their role," Hamilton said. "The longer we play together, the more these guys can learn about each other and the better team we will become."

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If you go …

What: Moffat County High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams in the Black Canyon Classic

When: Girls — 7 p.m. today, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday

When: Boys — 8:30 p.m. today, 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Montrose High School, 600 S. Selig Ave.

­— An all-tournament pass is $14 for adults and $12 for students. Today’s games are $7 for adults and $6 for students and Saturday’s game are $8 for adults and $7 for students.

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