Hopes high as Moffat County girls hoops gets back in business | CraigDailyPress.com

Hopes high as Moffat County girls hoops gets back in business

Moffat County High School's Jana Camilletti fights through traffic to get a layup during the Lady Bulldogs' home opener. MCHS girls basketball looks to repeat as the 3A Western Slope League champions this season, as well as going far into the postseason.

As the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School girls basketball program heads into a new season as the defending champs of the 3A Western Slope League, three letters take prominence: WIN. girls basketball program heads into a new season as the defending champs of the 3A Western Slope League, three letters take prominence: WIN.

Moffat County High School girls basketball program heads into a new season as the defending champs of the 3A Western Slope League, three letters take prominence: WIN.

The acronym is one that not only means victory on the court but also has prominence throughout the lives of the young women that make up the roster.

MCHS girls remain the team to beat this year as they return to action following one of the highest-achieving seasons ever for Lady Bulldogs, with a 3A WSL title, a district championship, a regional championship and a run in the state tournament during the 2015-16 school year.

Kenley Nebeker took on the mantle of head coach this fall following the departure of Sam McLeod, and though there's a lot of pressure to repeat past successes, he's confident girls are on track for another big year.

"No matter what, we're going to play as a team, and if we do that, I think we've got the skill and the game plan to be able to get there," he said. "I feel good about what we've got going now."

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MCHS girls bade farewell to some serious senior talent earlier this year, with team members who were among the highest ranks in Colorado hoops for statistics in three-point accuracy, rebounds and steals.

Even so, the four seniors this season provide a multitude of skills on the court, including Mattie Jo Duzik, Josey King and Alex Hamilton.

"It's a fresher team, a younger team, and we've got a long ways to go, but I think we can get there," Hamilton said.

She added that senior leadership is important to the older bunch.

"It's a lot of responsibility, but in a good way," she said.

Emma Samuelson rejoins Bulldog basketball as an upperclassman after a two-year hiatus.

"Just being with all my friends and getting back in it is the best because I love basketball," she said.

The change in coaching staff took some getting used to, though the two seniors approve of the new head of their program.

"He's got a good mindset and a lot of passion, and that's what we need here," Hamilton said of Nebeker.

Moffat County girls have ranked as highly as ninth in early 3A standings this year, the only WSL team in the division to make the Top 10. New 3A schools Delta and Cedaredge look to unseat the Lady Dogs this year.

Perennial threats Grand Valley and Olathe also have a score to settle, the latter of which was the only team in the conference to defeat MCHS during the regular season last year, only for Moffat County girls to outlast the Pirates for the fourth consecutive year at districts.

As the team moves into the league schedule, one of the things Nebeker emphasizes is the motto, WIN — What's Important Now. On the one hand, it reflects the goal of every sports team to achieve triumphs at game time. Alternately, WIN also encourages players to focus on the decisions they make and the kind of impact those will have.

"That's a philosophy that I try to live by myself, and any time I'm dealing with challenges in life, that's what I try to make sure to talk to my girls about, make sure we instill that life concept to always remember what's important now," he said. "What's important now is our team, our family, our community, our school. We need to let our choices be guided by that."

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