Teaming up |

Teaming up

MoCo boys hope scrappiness and hustle will pay off on the court

David Pressgrove

The Denver Post’s 4A basketball preview lists 38 “boys to watch” for the upcoming season. One of those to watch is Moffat County High School’s Anthony Loya. But a quick glance over the roster shows no such name.

“They were 50 percent right with both names,” said first-year head coach Mike LeWarne. “They combined the names of our top two guys and made them one. I wish we had an Anthony Loya with the combined skills of those two.”

LeWarne was referring to junior Anthony Loughran and senior Pablo Loya.

“We will be counting on those two for a lot of our offensive production this year,” LeWarne said.

Loya hit 63 three-pointers last season and averaged 12.8 points per game last year.

“Pablo has permission to shoot the ball from places that no one else is allowed to,” LeWarne said. “He’s got unlimited range, but he doesn’t necessarily have the green light because we have certain times we would like him to shoot.”

As a sophomore, Loughran averaged 11.9 ppg and at 6 feet 2 inches will be the tallest starter.

“Anthony will play every position probably every game,” his coach said. “He is very versatile.”

Without much height, LeWarne foresees his squad will need to use other aspects to be successful.

“We’re not very big and strong so we’ll have to out-play and out-hustle everybody,” he said.

“I think the best way to describe us is scrappy.”

Senior Joe Padon started 22 varsity games last season and, according to LeWarne, is the epitome of “scrappy.”

“Joe shows up every night to compete and just quietly gets it done,” LeWarne said. “I’ve been impressed by his approach and I hope it will be passed on to the other guys.”

LeWarne, who served as an assistant for the girls team for seven years, heads a new coaching staff for the boys that also includes Jeff Simon, who came over with LeWarne from the girls team and first-year coach Todd Trapp.

“Fundamentally, we haven’t changed a whole lot,” LeWarne said. “We just changed the names of things and established our own system.”

One aspect that will be different for the Bulldogs is a motion offense instead of a set offense. The motion makes players react to the defense, compared to doing a similar set play every time down the court.

“The motion offense has been hard to adjust to since we’re so used to set plays,” Loughran said. “It does make us play more as a team though.”

Injuries already have hit the Bulldogs with junior George Raftopoulos out because of a football injury and freshman Tim Knez out for the season with a torn meniscus.

“Both of those guys would have contributed this year,” said LeWarne. “At 6’3,” Tim would have been our tallest player and is a very gifted basketball player. At least we’ll have him the next three years.”

Other players LeWarne expects to contribute with varsity playing time are senior Brian Skironski, juniors Cody Palmer, Kyle Eitel and Kelvin Grinolds, sophomore Jared Lowther and freshmen Derek Duran and Kevin Loughran.

After practice on Monday, the Bulldogs were taking a break from their post-practice lifting when Padon complained to Anthony Loughran that he had got them in trouble and the team had to run.

In his own defense, Loughran said, “Hey man, I just helped us run off that turkey and get into better shape.”

From the pre-season thoughts of both the coaches and players, the Bulldogs will thank Loughran later their ability to get up and down the court is what they’re counting on for success.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or Pressgrove

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