Ups, downs in record, lineup for JV boys
Looking back at the season, Moffat County boys JV basketball coach John Haddan splits the games into three categories.
There was the before-Christmas adjustment, then the injury-filled middle and, finally, the five-game, winning-streak finish.
With a new coaching staff and system, the Bulldogs had to learn unfamiliar plays and schemes at the beginning of the season.
“There was a lot of new stuff they had to adjust to,” Haddan said. “It was a growing period for them.”
When play resumed after Christmas break, injuries and suspensions depleted the team’s numbers. At one time four starters were on the bench.
“We were struggling the first time through the league,” Haddan said.
With the return of leading scorer, sophomore Eli Buckner, and sophomore guard Clark Cleverly from injury, as well as the addition of junior Andrew Magas, the second half of the league season, the Bulldogs started to win again.
Two games that exemplified the turnaround for the team were the two against Steamboat Springs.
In the first game, one in which six freshmen moved up to play because of injuries and the suspension of three JV players, the Bulldogs lost by 20. In the second game, a full-strength Bulldog team won by eight points.
“We beat every JV team in the league except Palisade,” Haddan said. “The way we finished the season I think they’re excited for next year.”
The final five wins for the Bulldogs helped make their season record a respectable 8-11.
All but one starter is graduating from this year’s varsity team. The players who suited up for JV will, for the most part, be next year’s varsity team.
“We need to get them fundamentally sound,” Haddan said. “They are aware that they have to step up and contribute next year.”
Fickle freshman lineup
The freshman team’s lineup was a lot less consistent than its record this season.
With freshman players getting promoted up to JV and varsity all season, the freshman team featured different lineups nearly every night. But through all the changes, the first-year Bulldogs finished, 15-4.
“We were a different team at the start of the season than we were at the end,” coach David Bradshaw said. “At the beginning of the season we were a transition team that played good full-court defense. By the end of the season we were a half-court team.”
Injuries and suspensions at the JV and varsity levels led to freshman moving up and leaving the team to fill those spots.
Fortunately for the freshman team, it was one of the largest the Bulldogs have had the last five years.
“We had the depth to have those guys leave,” Bradshaw said. “It just made us adjust what we did.”
Three of the team’s losses were against JV teams in the Western Slope League.
“We weren’t quite ready to compete at the next level,” Bradshaw said. “We dominated the freshman teams in the league.”
The only loss to a freshman team came when most of the started were moved up to the JV level for the day.
“This team was at a higher level than other freshman teams I’ve coached,” Bradshaw said. “They still have some work to do before they can compete at the next level.”
Bradshaw said he would like to see the freshmen get stronger before their sophomore season. And there’s always room for improvement at the skill level.
“They need more touches,” he said. “I hope this summer they can get out there quite a bit.”
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