The Wolverines finally get to scratch that itch.
The Bayfield High School boys basketball team, after an extended preseason, will open the season this week.
None too soon, according to head coach Bill Hesford.
“My guys are itching to play a game,” Hesford said.
He and the Wolverines will scratch four times in the next five days with a busy schedule after the long lead-in.
“We’ve had a long time to prepare, and I feel like that’s helped us out,” Hesford said.
“The football team had another successful season, and those guys are a little late getting started. This gave them some more time,” Hesford said as the Wolverines prepared for their first game – a scrimmage officially – against the Durango junior varsity at 7:30 p.m. today at DHS.
The Bayfield boys will play again Friday – twice in the Montezuma-Cortez Tournament. They will play Miyamura from Gallup, N.M., at 4:30 p.m. before taking on host Montezuma-Cortez at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, the Wolverines will play Monticello, Utah, in the third game of the round-robin tournament – their fourth game in five days.
“We have some good, challenging games here at the beginning,” Hesford said, adding that Miyamura beat Piedra Vista earlier this season.
“We get Cortez, and Monticello is always tough,” Hesford said. “We’re excited to get started.”
He said senior veteran Joey Webb is back to handle point guard duties this year.
“The experience he had last year – he played 98 percent of the time as our point guard – should help out this year,” Hesford said.
Guards Eirik Kins and Nevin Lister, both seniors, also return for the Wolverines in 2012-13.
“And Tyler Kerr, a senior, is back at the post,” Hesford said. Kerr was a starter last year alongside 6-9 Derek Hillyer, who is playing this season at Otero Junior College in La Junta.
“The player who has really stepped us is Preston Hardy,” Hesford said of the 6-6 sophomore who played on the varsity as a freshman last year.
“He played a lot of basketball this offseason. He went all over,” the Bayfield coach said.
In addition to individual camps, Hardy played a summer AAU schedule with an Albuquerque-based team.
“Preston’s been looking good,” Hesford said.
Geoff Pope, a junior, will bolster the Bayfield roster along with sophomore guards Trevor Gabbard and Connor Kennedy.
“Geoff’s shot the ball really well ... the sophomores are good shooters, too,” Hesford said.
He said the Wolverines also picked up experience at a variety of team basketball camps last summer, including ones at Western State and Fort Lewis.
Now, he said, it’s time to play.