If its opening game is any indication of how the year will go, Hotchkiss will have a successful season. The Bulldogs defeated Olathe Friday, 55-44.
Hotchkiss moved to 2A this season, and is competing in the 12-team 1A/2A Western Slope League. These early-season losses are crucial, said head coach Kyle Crowder. Each of the eight district champions will host a regional tournament, with subsequent teams determined by true seeding, with consideration to geography. Defeating a 3A team like Olathe and Gunnison will help the team seeding come playoffs, said Crowder. The Bulldogs host Gunnison this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Returning from last season's varsity team are Cody Bartlett, Mason Oxford, Taylor Schreiner, Ty Bayles, Wes Hardin and River Panish. Josh Hardin, a 6-foot-2 senior, returns to the team after missing his junior year. Nicolas Rojas, Chris Allen and Andrew Tiedemann step up from the junior varsity team. Daniel Camacho, Kaan Uygut, Jacobe Galley, Jacob Schreiner, Eddie Cambria, Tyrell Clock and freshman Clayton Oxford are also on the roster.
With players from the football team starting practice last week, "We're still in the process of figuring out who will play where," said Crowder. With a combination of size, shooting and ball-handling abilities, youth and experience, Crowder sees at least 10 players who can step on the court at any time and be competitive. "That's going to be huge," said Crowder. The team has more depth than in the recent past, "and that's going to be our strength."
Hotchkiss had one scrimmage, against 4A Delta. Despite missing the football players and still trying to determine the best fit for everyone, that went well, said Crowder.
Starting this Friday when they face Vail Christian at Vail, the Bulldogs will be on the road the remainder of the calendar year. They face Ridgway on Dec. 11, then compete in the Delta County Bank of the West tournament Dec. 21-22. They will open the new year with a non-conference game at Paonia.
Bulldog assistant coaches are Zac Lemon, who returns for his second year as C team coach, and Jesse Hotchkiss, a 2010 Hotchkiss High School graduate, will coach the junior varsity team. Hotchkiss was a varsity player for the Bulldogs, and was a starting post player for Hotchkiss in 2010, the last year the Bulldogs made the playoffs.blog comments powered by Disqus