Lance Scranton: Moffat County girls basketball continuing a winning tradition |

Lance Scranton: Moffat County girls basketball continuing a winning tradition

Lance Scranton/For Craig Press
Lance Scranton
Courtesy photo

A tradition that has been solid for a long time found more reason to celebrate this past weekend as our Moffat County High School “Lady Dogs” won another regional basketball title, outlasting a very capable and stubborn Lutheran Lion team from Parker. The girls basketball team has had a long, rich tradition of winning big games, beginning when a couple of coaches came up to Craig years ago.

Jim Loughran and Craig Mortensen were the girl’s coaches when I was hired all those years ago and were taking their turn making some pretty special memories up at our high school gymnasium. I’m pretty sure that Coach “Mort” and “JL” were in attendance Saturday as the Bulldogs capped off an exciting weekend with another great win. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, and this year’s coaching staff has done a great job preparing our girls to take on what turned out to be some tough competition.

The girls have had a few coaches since “Mort” and “JL” retired, but the values have remained largely the same: hard work, tough defense, discipline and winning! After Coach Mortensen retired, Matt Ray took over — and won. He was followed by Sam McLeod, who won some big games, and now, Kenley Nebeker has taken the program to another Elite Eight! The one constant is that our girls have taken a tradition of excellence and continued to prove that consistency is all about hard work and dedication to winning.

It’s become popular these days to get down on teams that win consistently and look for excuses as to why winning isn’t the most important thing to focus on when competing. As I watched the girls play basketball this weekend, I don’t think I saw one look of, “Well, it’s just a game,” or “Well, winning isn’t the most important thing.” What I observed was coaches coaching to win and players playing to win. Sports has never been all about the wins, and some of our greatest lessons come from the defeats we suffer, but when winning is kept in its proper perspective, the results can be amazing to behold and a joy to watch.

So, another Moffat County High School girls basketball team will travel to Denver to put it all on the line this week against some even stiffer competition. On the shoulders of some great teams and dedicated coaches that have gone before them, the girls will leave their mark on a rich tradition of excellence that began with coaches Mortensen and Loughran, who were always the first to say that all they were doing was, “coaching them up” and just hoping that, “the girls made things happen.” Remembering the coaches and players whose shoulders we stand on when we are successful is an important part of understanding the value of our history and the rich traditions that are the product of a community of fans who support, coaches with integrity who truly care and players who trust the system.

Congratulations girls! Now, go get ’em!

Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.


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