Craig Middle School girls hoops teams get to shooting | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School girls hoops teams get to shooting

8th-graders defeat Hayden, Steamboat Springs; 7th-graders still seeking win

Sometimes you catch a tiger by tail, and sometimes it catches you. The Craig Middle School girls basketball teams were on both sides of this situation this week.

Thursday games hosting Hayden went in both extremes for the CMS hoops teams, as the seventh-graders fell, 28-5, followed by a 34-9 win by the eighth-graders.

The athletes of the eighth-grade A-team asserted dominance over the Tigers immediately into their game, getting into double digits before Hayden had one point on the board. A 19-3 halftime score kept the Bulldog confidence high as their lead continued to grow, with Bailey Lawton, Quinn Pinnt, Tiffany Hildebrandt, Madie Weber, Jaidyn Steele and the rest of their players fighting fiercely for control of the ball, keeping the Tigers entirely scoreless for the final quarter.

This is the second year coach Candi Hellander has spent overseeing the current eighth-graders with Todd Hildebrandt, and getting her entire squad involved is crucial.

"We're counting on everyone on our bench to come through and be part of it because we need fresh legs out there," she said. "Our biggest strength is our speed."

The 28-point win over Hayden isn't even the eighth-grade team's biggest victory of the week. A 56-8 blowout Tuesday against Steamboat Springs started off the season with a bang, and Hellander intends to keep going the same way.

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"We're very competitive, very aggressive and we don't want to lose, so we'll go for any loose ball we can get," she said.

Meanwhile, the seventh-graders have gotten off to a slower, 0-3 start with losses to Steamboat and Baggs, Wyoming.

The opening home game saw them fall, 24-12, to the Sailors earlier this week, and the pattern of "first quarter jitters," — as dubbed by coach Jason Buhrman — struck again during the Hayden game, in which the younger Bulldogs were down, 12-2, at the end of the first, and 22-3, at the midpoint.

However, the second half showed the seventh-grade girls weren't going down without a fight, holding the Tigers to only six points with persistent defense though only getting one more basket of their own.

"We've just got to get that lid off the basket and start putting some shots in," Buhrman said, pointing out that increasing shooting accuracy is one of his aims this season.

Buhrman and assistant coach Lauryn Calafiore are still calibrating the offensive and defensive mechanics, but he sees success coming soon.

"We're going to get that W," he said.

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