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Photo by Wayne Crick Makayla Mckinney shoots a lay-up during a practice session at Cedaredge High School. The Bruins, one of the top 2A teams in the state last season, venture back up to Class 3A for the 2016-17 basketball campaign.

Last year's Cedaredge Bruins' girls basketball team was one of the top teams in Class 2A. The Bruins completed the year with a 24-3 record, with two of those losses coming to state runner-up Paonia.

Cedaredge moved back up to Class 3A in basketball this season and will see some different teams as it prepares to chase after a state title. "Moving up to 3A is bittersweet, but we are excited for the competition night in and night out in the league. We have a pretty good schedule this year and it's going to be fun working with this team, finding our strengths and maximizing those. If we do that we will have a good chance at competing for that league title," quoted Cedaredge head coach Ryan Hilbig.

This year's varsity team will consist of Grace Andrews, Jade McBovern, Hailey Henrie, Courtney Freeman, Makayla Mckinney, Callie Wasser, Alyssa Kissner, Addison Schwarz and Hannah Gilmore.

Hilbig will rely on a team concept to produce success in 2016 and has thoughts about key players who will be asked to provide leadership and set examples for the rest of the squad. "Gilmore is a returning First Team All-Conference player and was our leading rebounder and scorer a year ago. Henrie is a contributing senior and a good shooter while Mckinney is another contributing senior and a good defender. Freeman is a fun, do it all, player."

There will be several challenges along the way in 2016. "Moffat County is long and lean and has experience winning. Hopefully, that game on Feb. 18, is going to be an important one. Olathe is always well coached. Coach Althaus has a next up mentality and he always has good teams ready to compete for conference titles. Grand Valley may have a player of the year candidate and that will make them tough to play against. Then there's Delta (Hilbig's previous teaching and coaching duties were in Delta) ... it will be fun to have this rivalry mean more than just bragging rights. We know this game is going to be fun, physical and very competive."

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