Junior high teams tip off this week

RBC I Rangely Junior High girls’ basketball players will have a quick turnaround this week.
They officially started practice Tuesday — Monday was an in-service day — and four days later they will play their first games of the season.
“It’s crazy, but it’s like that every year,” said Jessica Fortunato, Rangely’s eighth-grade coach and a former Colorado Northwestern Community College basketball player.
Jared Heaps is Rangely’s seventh-grade coach.
Area junior high girls’ basketball gets into full swing after the Christmas break, and both the Rangely and Meeker teams will play their season openers at home Saturday.
Rangely opens against Steamboat Springs, while Meeker (Barone Middle School) starts out with Craig. The games will be played at their respective high schools.
“You know, I definitely think the girls are looking forward (to the season starting),” said Deb Henderson, Meeker’s eighth-grade coach. “They’re excited. They’re ready to get on the court and play against somebody other than themselves.”
Meeker started practice the week before Christmas, but both county schools had open gym during the break. Attendance wasn’t mandatory, but girls could come in on their own and work out.
“A lot of kids committed and wanted to play,” Henderson said. “The girls have worked really hard. It’s really about teaching right now and getting back to the basics.”
Added Meeker seventh-grade coach Ivy Abshire, “We’re looking good so far, but we’re hammering on the fundamentals.”
All of the area coaches agreed they are ready for the season to get under way.
“We only play seven games and then we have our tournament,” said Rangely’s Fortunato. “(The season) goes real fast. Almost too fast.”
Meeker will host the district tournament Feb. 13.