Head coach blazes into season
Although head coaching for the Lady Dogs is new for Matt Ray, he brings years of experience to the table. “I was the head coach for Hayden for three years until I came to Craig, and I was the JV and freshman coach for nine years. This is my second year as head coach for Craig,” said Ray. That is almost 15 years of experience that Ray has brought to his new team.
“I played for Craig Mortenson when I was in high school and when I started coaching, he helped develop me as a coach,” said Ray. Mortenson was very influential to Ray’s life. “Eventually, when I retire I would like one of my players to step in for me,” said Ray. That keeps the legacy going, and it keeps the chemistry and everything else in it, noted Ray. Keeping the coaching legacy going is very important. “I think he has been doing pretty good [sic] as head coach after Mortenson retired,” said senior Melissa Camilletti. Mortenson was very liked but Ray has done well stepping up and following in Mortenson’s footsteps. “I really like the new coaches, I think they are really fun,” said freshman Katelyn Peroulis. The new year is going well for Peroulis. Both Peroulis and Camilletti have played basketball since they were young. “I love basketball and it is fun, I just feel really good when I’m playing on the court,” said Peroulis.
“We have been in the 4A league for ten years, I know we are small and as girls basketball goes we have competed every year. We were league champs last year,” said Ray. The girl’s basketball team doesn’t have too much of challenge until they get to the state level, this is where the bigger teams have the advantage.
Hustling and working hard are in the team’s best interests as they go through summer ball and open gym. Accepting more responsibility as head coach is in Ray’s mind right now. “All the pressure is on me because the program stops with me. If I make the kids work hard and they do then we will be alright, but if I don’t make them work hard then we will be what we are,” said Ray. Players have bad games every once in a while but the team overcomes those every time. “If I make choices then the pressure is in me, and parents have always been a part of the game. They might agree with me or not agree,” said Ray. As head coach no matter what is done there will always be people happy with what is done and people that are not.
All three agree that besides Steamboat, their rivals are Delta and Glenwood. “Delta and Glenwood are both going to be good this year. We tied with them last year for league champs,” said Camilletti.
There are many things that are different for Peroulis being on the high school team rather than the eighth grade team. “There are more games in the season, and harder competition to deal with. You can move up, and it gives us new chances to prove to your coaches that you are worthy of playing basketball,” said Peroulis. Different strengths are brought to the team as the new season begins. “We have taller girls that can contribute to the team,” said Camilletti. The work effort of the team and working hard on defense are some of the team’s best strength. “We work really hard on defense, just the overall work effort is very good for us,” said Peroulis. Working together as a team and figuring out the offense are some of the things that the team needs to work on.