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Bruin girls have team to make run in WSL

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Photo by Wayne Crick Two Bruins watch as a teammate makes as many shots as she can in a certain amount of time. The two players watching were given the same amount of time to make as many shots as they could.

The Cedaredge High School girls basketball had a successful season a year ago and finished second in the 3A WSL. The Bruins put together an eight-game winning streak just before entering last year's 3A District tournament. A win against Gunnison in the opening round of tournament play was the ninth straight win for the Bruins. Cedaredge fell to Moffat County, a team it had beaten just prior to the tournament (43-38), by a 49-42 decision. In the third-place game, Olathe turned an earlier season loss around to score a 41-38 win to place third in tournament play.

Cedaredge, and four other 3A WSL teams advanced to last year's state tournament based on records and RPI standings. The Bruins entered state competition as the 14th seed and drew number 19 Kent Denver in the opening round. Kent Denver handed the Bruins a 40-27 loss ending Cedaredge's season. Kent Denver lost to eventual state champion Lamar, 60-33 in the next round.

The Bruins have been working hard in the pre-season and are prepared to reap benefits once the season begins.

Helping guide the Bruins in the right direction this season is Bruins head coach Ryan Hilbig who is entering his fifth season with Cedaredge and has an overall record of 63-14 coming into the 2017-18 campaign. Russell Coleman will be the Bruins junior varsity coach and is in his first year at Cedaredge High School where he is teaching English. Coleman came from Kansas to teach and coach at Cedaredge. A pair of volunteers, Kayla Jubert and Greg Medill, return for another year of duty.

Hilbig is excited for the season to begin with designs on building on last year's success and another post-season experience.

One of the most influential reasons for Hilbig's excitement is junior Courtney Freeman, a First Team all-conference player last year. "She is our key player. She's a great player and all-around good person," noted Hilbig.

Others designated as top players for the Bruins include seniors Grace Andrews, Jade McGovern and Addi Schwarz plus sophomore Makayla Kehmeier.

"Keep an eye on Jade (McGovern). She's the best defensive player and energy girl. Super coachable and a wonderful person," quoted Hilbig.

When the topic of teams to beat came up, Hilbig was quick with his answer ... "Moffat is probably the best team in the league this year, so that will be a tough one. Every game in conference is going to be tough this year. There are a bunch of teams that are all similar. Delta is always a fun game for us as well."

Hilbig's final comment was, "I am excited to get to coach this team. They are a fun group to get to work with every day and they work hard. I think this team has a chance to do something very special, but we have to put the work in and get better every single day."

The Bruins began their season in Meeker with the three-day White River Shootout (see related story above) and won the title with three wins.

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