Getting the ball rolling |

Getting the ball rolling

Boys set to host WSL basketball tourney; girls travel to Rifle

David Pressgrove

Moffat County High School junior Jarrod Holmlund had his best game as a varsity player last week with 15 points against Evergreen. He hopes to continue his improvement this weekend, but that’s not his top priority.

“Sure, I’d like to keep putting up good numbers,” he said. “But really, the most important numbers are three wins.”

The Bulldogs host the Western Slope League tournament today and Saturday. It is the first time in more than 20 years that the WSL has had a tournament that wasn’t at the end of the season.

The tournament was created after the post-season district tournament was eliminated. That left four open games for league teams to schedule, and the tournament became a reality.

“I think it’s a good deal all around,” coach Mike LeWarne said. “We get three games in before break, and we get a chance to see our league early.”

As for hosting, LeWarne said Craig is a favorite place for league coaches.

“We have good facilities and community support at games,” he said. “It made it a pretty easy sell for us to get the coaches here.”

The Bulldogs are coming off the momentum from an exciting overtime win against Evergreen. But they are also suffering from sickness and some injuries.

“(Wednesday) was the first day this week we had a complete varsity team,” LeWarne said. “But probably the rest of the league teams have the same struggles right now.”

The seeding for the tournament was based on putting teams who are close to each other geographically on opposite sides of the bracket. Steamboat Springs and Moffat, Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Delta and Palisade, and Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain were separated.

In the opening round, Rifle will face Battle Mountain, Palisade and Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley will take on Glenwood Springs.

Moffat County will face Delta in the tournament opener at 8:15 tonight. They play the winner or loser of the Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley game.

“Delta is a scrappy team,” LeWarne said.

“They aren’t very big, but they’ll be competitive.”

The Panthers are 1-2 to start the season and the Bulldogs are 2-1.

LeWarne echoed Holmlund’s goal for the team.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to win all three,” he said. “Most importantly, I want to see us improve from last weekend.”

The girls team has just as high of expectations.

“I think we should expect to win,” coach Craig Mortensen said. “We have the most returning talent and experience in the league.”

The girls bracket it set up with the same matchups, so the 4-0 and sixth-ranked Bulldogs will play 2-1 Delta in Rifle at 4:45 p.m.

“It’s a good chance to scout our league,” Mortensen said. “We don’t know much about Eagle Valley (a possible second-round matchup) except that they return seven seniors, so they could be a surprise.”

The boys team will play at either 1:15 p.m. Saturday if they win tonight or 9:45 a.m. if they lose. The girls play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday if they win and 8 a.m. if they lose.

The championship games are at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

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