Moffat County hoops coaches sound off on solid season
Coaches discuss player strengths, favorite memories, playoff hopes
As the Moffat County High School varsity basketball teams move on to the final level of the district tournament Saturday and the regional portions of the playoffs after that, the Craig Daily Press spoke with coaches Eric Hamilton and Sam McLeod about what each of their players brings to the game.
• Regular season record: 15-4 overall, 13-1 in 3A Western Slope League, 1st place in WSL
• Total points scored in regular season games: 1,337
• Biggest wins by the numbers: An 80-36 victory vs. Aspen concluded the regular season at home with the biggest point margin yet, pushing one point past the 58-15 win against 4A Eagle Valley back in December during the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. The team twice beat Olathe by 37 in front of a Moffat County crowd, 77-40 and 75-38.
• Win that meant the most: With a score of 87-66 against Grand Valley, the Bulldogs claimed the championship title for the 3A Western Slope League and snagged pictures with banners around the Parachute school promoting the local social media campaign #BeatMoffatCty.
• Miles traveled this season to date for road games: 3,007.59 (Farthest destination — Gunnison)
• Building bonds: Player Keenan Hildebrandt leads the team in a pre-game prayer for all who want to participate.
• Players’ favorite part of practice: Anything that involves a little friendly competition.
• Coach’s favorite memory: “All the traveling that we’ve done and the summers have been most memorable for me. We’ve done quite a bit over the years, and it’s not just about the games, it’s all the fun stories that happened.” — Coach Eric Hamilton
• Coach’s suggested diet and lifestyle: Eat steadily, refuel after games as much as possible and maintain good habits. Also, no soda.
• Bulldog bests:
Second in WSL in blocks per game — Matt Hamilton (1.6 per game, 30 total)
Third in WSL in steals per game — Tyler Davis (2.8 per game, 53 total)
Fourth in WSL in assists per game — Joe Camilletti, Matt Hamilton (Tie) (2.7 per game, 51 total)
Fifth in WSL in points per game — Joe Camilletti (14.8 per game, 282 total)
• Coach’s call on season and plans for postseason:
“We’re right where we want to be, our first goal was to win the league championship, and we really wanted to be 14-0, but we don’t feel like losing the Roaring Fork game hurt us, if anything, it helped us. The team’s chemistry is the best I’ve ever seen in four years, and we’ve lost some really outstanding varsity players, but the guys that have stayed have shown loyalty and dedication to Moffat County basketball. We don’t want to stop until the very end.”
— Coach Eric Hamilton
• Regular season record: 14-5 overall, 12-2 in 3A Western Slope League, 2nd place in WSL
• Total points scored in regular season games: 1,017
• Biggest wins by the numbers: A road game in Aspen saw the Lady Dogs win, 77-17. At home, the girls defeated Basalt, 78-27, earlier this week to start the district tournament on the right foot, a total slightly higher than the 75-27 the first time they hosted the Longhorns. Oddly enough, Basalt had the same amount of points against Moffat County even when at home, losing, 57-27, midseason.
• Win that meant the most: Winning, 49-39, on the road against Grand Valley after being behind at halftime showed the team is capable of a comeback and will be a fierce group going into the playoffs.
• Miles traveled this season to date for road games: 2,875.95 (Farthest destination — Gunnison)
• Building bonds: “We like to sit down and dine together at different parents’ houses. I’m big on breaking bread together anytime we can.” — Coach Sam McLeod
• Players’ favorite part of practice: Anything that involves putting their speed to good use.
• Coach’s favorite memory: “At our Christmas party, just seeing all the girls smile and laugh and have fun, they were spending time together like a family.” — Coach Sam McLeod
• Coach’s suggested diet and lifestyle: No soda, lots of water, eat healthy and get plenty of rest.
• Bulldog bests:
Second in WSL in points per game — Leah Camilletti (13.2 per game, 250 total)
Second in WSL in rebounds per game — Morgan Lawton (7.8 per game, 149 total)
Third in WSL in steals per game — Kayla Pinnt, Morgan Lawton (Tie) (3.3 per game, 63 total)
Fifth in WSL in assists per game — Leah Camilletti (2.2 per game, 42 total)
• Coach’s call on season and plans for postseason:
“We had a young team, some injured seniors and some juniors who weren’t sure about being leaders, and we had to establish our own identity. We have lofty goals, we want to establish a dynasty and have greatness year after year, and they’re subscribing to that, they’re growing. I think they’re just starting to hit their stride.”
— Coach Sam McLeod
Brent Cook — “Brent is one of our freshman kids who’s just a super hard worker in practice, really coachable kid, and you can tell he’s going to improve like crazy. He wants the ball, wants to score, but he’s not selfish. His future is really bright here.”
Ben Robinson — “Ben is probably one of the purest jump shooters on our team, works hard for it. He just hangs in there, comes to work every day, and he’s a good kid to have around, a kid that can knock down three for you when you need him.”
Joe Camilletti — “Joe is without a doubt the best defender in the league if not the state. If teams aren’t prepared for how to handle him, they’ve made a mistake. He’s a great scorer and has a knack for getting to the hole.”
Matt Hamilton — “Matt is probably our tallest and probably our most versatile. We like to work him inside, and he’s our best rebounder. We’d rather have him shoot more, but he’s a great passer, leads the team in assists, tied with Joe.”
Scott Foster — “Scott is a very smart player, uses his head a lot, great moves inside, really solid post moves. He’s always undersized against opponents, but he uses his body well, and he’s always very intelligent.”
Dusty Taylor — “He’s a great defender, and he’s come a long way on his offensive skills this year, probably our most improved player. Great hands, so we can put him on our opponents’ best player a lot. He comes up with those rebounds and steals when you need them, so he’s been a force.”
Denton Taylor — “Denton, there’s a guy who’s showed a lot of guts and determination. He just hung in there, kept battling, kept working hard and has just been outstanding for us this year. Rebounding, scoring, he defends well. He’s had some knee problems over the years, but he’s been awesome.”
Eddie Smercina — “Eddie, he’s always the fastest kid on the floor, no matter what. He’s got the speed everybody wishes they had. He’s a guy I know I can count on him to guard anybody quick, and he’s going to be a real asset in the next couple years as a varsity player.”
Dylan Kincade — “Dylan, we call him ‘the money man.’ He’s a go-to scorer, and his all-around game is probably one of the best on the team. He rebounds well, shoots the ball very well, and he’s just a phenomenal scorer and a hard worker. One of the top players in the league, for sure.”
Kasen Brennise — “Kasen is another tough freshman coming on, making huge improvements this year. He takes in everything you tell him and then just puts it to work. He’s gonna be a huge varsity player in the next three years.”
Tyler Davis — “Tyler, he’s got great leadership, played varsity all four years, him and Joe. Great shooter, good passer, he’s always up for the challenge of somebody who’s hurting us, he’ll do anything. He’s always the first guy in the gym, last guy to leave.”
Bronc Hellander — “Bronc is super athletic, great jumper, great passer and super, super hustle. When he’s on the floor, he’ll give you 110 percent. Once he finds his offensive skill set, he’s gonna be unstoppable.”
Keenan Hildebrandt — “Keenan is our muscle guy. Pound for pound, he’s probably the strongest guy in 3A. He has super work ethic, and he’s the best teammate anyone could ask for. One of the best kids I’ve ever been around in sports as far as character. Great rebounder, very talented sophomore, and he’s gonna be a force the next two years.”
— All quotes from Eric Hamilton
Kayla Pinnt — “Kayla can guard anybody’s point guard, and her points have gotten bigger as we’ve gone. She’s got quick feet and quick hands, and she’s able to get out there on transition.”
Hannah Walker — “Hannah is someone who can play all five positions. She takes care of the ball, she doesn’t make a lot of mistakes — she’s a utility knife.”
Leah Camilletti — “Leah is one of the highest shooting percentage players in the league. I also use her for a shutdown perimeter defender. She does it on both sides of the ball.”
Josey King — “Josey really emerged this year, and she’s a pure scorer, a good three-point shooter. She’s gotten a lot better on defense, and that’s kind of how she had to improve to get into the starting lineup by playing defense at the varsity level. She won that role by earning it.”
Shayna Allen — “Shayna is a step-in shooter, and I was glad to have her senior leadership. I was happy she decided to come out and play this year. She knocks down shots.”
Katelyn Peroulis — “Katelyn, coming back from an injury, she’s gotten faster every week. She’s developing her game all over again, so she’s a hard worker, and she’s the leader of our team, hands down.”
Alex Hamilton — “Alex is probably the only pure point guard we have. She’s got a ton of talent and a ton of speed, and she’s able to get into the lane pretty effectively. She’s a hard-nosed and aggressive player, not scared of anything.”
Mattie Jo Duzik — “Mattie’s someone who didn’t get any varsity time last year, but she’s developed into a dominant post player at times. I think she’s going to be a shot blocker, but she really has a lot of speed, and that creates a lot of problems for other teams because of her size.”
Morgan Lawton — “Morgan is an extremely hard worker, our leading rebounder, second leading scorer, good at putting back offensive rebounds. She’s deceptively quick, very sneaky getting steals. A lot of speed.”
Katia Voloshin — “Katia is our best defensive player on the perimeter and overall. She’s the player I depend on to shut the other team’s best player down — she frustrates the heck out of them. She does the little things that don’t show up in the scorebook.”
Hannah Beckett — “Hannah is an extremely good shooter from the high post, and she’s someone who hasn’t played since her freshman year. She’s had a multitude of different injuries, and I’m proud of her for having the fortitude to overcome all that and come work hard every day.”
Charli Earle — “Charli is without a doubt the most technically sound low post player we have. If she gets an inch, she will get a drop-step layup. She’s a master at it, and it’s hard, but she positions her body perfectly every time.”
— All quotes from Sam McLeod
The deadline to vote is Monday, May 20.