Titan girls step up their game
They take algebra while their opponents sit in calculus classes; they learn about biology while their foes study physics. The Coal Ridge girls basketball team, a squad of freshmen and sophomores playing a varsity schedule, may be younger and still figuring out how high school works, but when it comes to playing basketball, they can compete. Eleven games into their inaugural season, the Titans own a .500, 6-6 record.”I thought we were going to play really good,” freshman Matraisa Beecraft said on her thoughts going into the season. “But I’m surprised at how well we are playing. We are playing as a team, and we all go good together.”
Beecraft, who has played with some of her teammates previously on club teams, said that being a part of the brand-new team was hard at first, but is getting easier.”I think we get scared a little bit about how they are juniors and seniors sometimes. And we’re short, but it doesn’t really matter to us anymore – it’s something that we got used to,” Beecraft said. “Now that we are on the court with them and have played them, I think we were scared before but we’re not anymore.”Despite some of its hardships, she is happy to be on the first Coal Ridge squad.
“It’s awesome, I love it. Our team gets along just fine on the court. Our coach (Jacky Gaddis) is awesome. I love how she coaches,” Beecraft said. “I’m really glad I came here. I think it will get better. I think our team will improve, and we will play even more as a team.”With no upperclassmen to look up to, Beecraft said not only have the sophomores taken on leadership roles, but freshmen have as well.”I think that we all have stepped up as leaders – especially our sophomores,” she said. “Our sophomores get us and say, ‘You need to step up your game and play as a team out there.'”
While the Titans’ inexperience does come through in some games when they’re not being patient – making unforced turnovers and not listening to Gaddis on the sideline screaming to switch from a man-to-man defense to a zone – Coal Ridge also shows glimpses of greatness.Like in its 24-4 first quarter score it posted against Vail Christian on Friday, the Titans have showed they know how to play the game. They, like most underclassmen, just have to practice it and get experience. But if they keep going in the direction they are headed, it could lead them to a lot of success.”I probably get more frustrated in them not believing and trusting how good they really are when they put it all together,” Gaddis said of her team. “That does come with time, and I don’t know that I can yell it anymore, and I don’t know that I can talk about it anymore. It’s something they’ve got to figure out on their own.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.