Girls basketball executes in ‘sleeper’
Moffat County girls basketball coach Craig Mortensen wouldn’t have blamed fans for falling asleep during the team’s final game of the Flaming Gorge Classic in Green River, Wyo.
Not only was the game at 8:45 a.m., but the Bulldogs’ opponents, Mountain View High School, also spread out the offense and slowed the game down –ay down.
“It was definitely a sleeper,” Mortensen said. “But our girls had the patience to do what we needed.”
The Bulldogs nearly shut out Mountain View in the first quarter and went on to win a low-scoring game, 48-22.
“If it was a normal-paced game, we would have won by twice that,” Mortensen said. “We did our normal things on offense, we just didn’t have as many possessions.”
Mountain View, which came into Saturday’s game 2-0 in the tournament, spread out its offense on the perimeter. In every possession, the team ate up the clock by passing the ball around, searching for an opening.
“We just sat back around the perimeter and challenged them to come at us,” Mortensen said. “We didn’t give them much to work with.”
Mountain View’s offense produced 10 points in the second quarter, but only 12 points the rest of the game.
Moffat County senior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos and sophomore Markie Workman outscored their opponents with 12 points each. Sophomore Jorgiea Raftopoulos contributed eight points.
Mari Katherine Raftopoulos led the team in two of the three games in the tournament. More than half of her points came from the foul line.
“M.K. is attacking on the dribble and getting to the foul line often,” Mortensen said. “I think she could shoot a little more from outside, but she’s doing a good job getting to the basket.”
The win gave the Bulldogs a share of the tournament title. Other tournament results weren’t available to determine whether Moffat was the only undefeated team.
It’s time now to prepare for the Western Slope League season.
Mortensen said practice time after Christmas break will be spent on individual skills, as well as smaller details.
“We’ve seen them for eight games now,” he said. “We need to define roles more for each individual.”
The coach said he hopes to see the girls improve their shooting from the outside to open up space for post players junior Cayla Maneotis and Workman.
But defense eventually will be the difference.
“What cost us against Mullen (last year’s playoff loss) was our half-court defense,” Mortensen said. “Our half-court defense will have to win games for us against the better teams in the state.”
For the most part, Mortensen was happy with the progress of his team.
“There was a difference from us in Wyoming compared to Utah,” he said. “For us to lose, a team is going to have to stop a lot of different players or all of our girls have to have a bad night.”
Moffat went undefeated in the Western Slope League regular season last year and will try to continue that streak after Christmas break. The Bulldogs open up with a trip to Palisade on Jan. 6 and Delta on Jan. 7.
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