Moffat County hoops shooting for big turnout for December games at Pepsi Center | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County hoops shooting for big turnout for December games at Pepsi Center

Tickets for Bulldog basketball part of package deal for Dec. 23 Denver Nuggets game

Moffat County High School girls basketball players Mattie Jo Duzik, left, and Josey King compete against Coal Ridge in the 2016 district tournament. MCHS hoops will compete against the Titans Dec. 23 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, with ticket-holders also gaining admission to the Denver Nuggets game that night.

The winter season for Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School athletics is about to start, and two of the Bulldog teams are already eyeing a game that will take place in December. athletics is about to start, and two of the Bulldog teams are already eyeing a game that will take place in December.

Moffat County High School athletics is about to start, and two of the Bulldog teams are already eyeing a game that will take place in December.

And, given the details, it's hard to blame them for seeing that as the biggest, shiniest Christmas present under the tree.

MCHS boys and girls basketball teams are selling tickets for a Dec. 23 set of games that will take place at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Bulldogs will take on the Coal Ridge High School Titans in the afternoon, leading up to NBA action as the Denver Nuggets host the Atlanta Hawks.

Girls start at 1:15 p.m., boys at 3 p.m. Those who purchase admission to the high school event will also be able to attend the Nuggets game at 7 p.m. for a discounted price while supporting Moffat County hoops.

Coal Ridge played Rifle at the Pepsi Center last season, and MCHS teams were more than interested in joining this time, said boys coach Eric Hamilton. Though the pro-level venue will be a unique opportunity, he's more curious about how his players will fare on the floor.

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"I'm more concerned about beating Coal Ridge, that's a solid team," he said, noting the Titans went all the way to the regional level of the playoffs last season.

Prices range from $20 to $55 for tickets that can normally sell for as much as $69 and are available for purchase at nuggetstix.com/moffatcounty1617nuggetstix.com/moffatcounty1617 or through MCHS’s athletic director Rich Houghton, who can be contacted at 970-824-7036 or or through MCHS's athletic director Rich Houghton, who can be contacted at 970-824-7036 or rich.houghton@moffatsd.orgrich.houghton@moffatsd.org..

nuggetstix.com/moffatcounty1617 or through MCHS's athletic director Rich Houghton, who can be contacted at 970-824-7036 or rich.houghton@moffatsd.org.

Bulldog basketball teams are currently in open gym sessions, optional for players, with Nov. 11 the official start date allowed for any winter sport — including Moffat County wrestling and girls swimming — by Colorado High School Activities AssociationColorado High School Activities Association..

Colorado High School Activities Association.

Hamilton plans to get things moving the following Monday after the start date, while new girls coach Kenley Nebeker is organizing a Midnight Madness event. Dinner and team-building exercises on the evening of Nov. 10 will lead up to a late-night practice at 12:01 a.m.

The Coal Ridge games, which will be the first 3A Western Slope League match-ups for the Dogs, were set up several weeks ago, and there was some concern about how many tickets could be moved for a game happening right before the Christmas weekend.

However, Nebeker said he believes Moffat County fans will step up to the challenge of holiday travel to Denver to support players.

"For me, I may be weird, but no matter what the holiday is, I can't think of a better way to celebrate it than being around basketball," he said. "The date's not ideal, but it's not every day you get a chance to play at a venue like that. I'm excited, girls are excited, and I think there's a good energy with 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.