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The Clear Creek girls basketball players are looking forward to a full season this year after a short, condensed season last winter.

Practice for winter sports started Nov. 15, and the Clear Creek basketball teams host a season opener Nov. 30 at home against Platte Canyon.

The Golddiggers are excited to take on their rivals right out the gate.

Senior point guard Loralei Murphy said the Huskies can be a tough opponent, so Clear Creek needs to go into the game with confidence.

Murphy and senior forward Kim Pappen added that last year’s condensed season was difficult. The team basically played three games a week for a month after New Year’s, and played about half the games they typically do.

This season, the seniors are looking forward to improving as a team and individually, and ending their high school careers on a high note.

Pappen said that in addition to improving her shooting, she also wants work more on being a leader and help her teammates focus on doing their best.

Murphy, likewise, wants to improve her ball-handling and getting past the tougher defenders.

Coach Emily Buikema described her team this year as “small and quick,” adding that the players have great attitudes and are very coachable. Many have been playing varsity basketball since they were freshmen, and they love playing defense.

However, the team’s depth chart is relatively shallow this year, Buikema said. She expected 13 or 14 players total in this year’s program. So, Clear Creek should be able to assemble a JV team, but varsity players are going to see a lot of minutes, she said.

“Our league is very tough,” Buikema continued. “ … Many teams have players that go year-round. So, we want to take it one game at a time.”

After only two days of practice, Buikema felt her team also needs to work on shooting and offensive pacing. The slower the Golddiggers play on offense, the more uncomfortable they become. So, they need to play faster, especially to offset the lack of size, she explained.

Elizabeth Rooney, a freshman guard, was excited to join the Clear Creek basketball team after playing in middle school. She was a little concerned at how small the team will be, and was trying to recruit some friends to join the Golddiggers.

Buikema said her goal for the Golddiggers this year is to emphasize “competitive fun.”

“I’m excited for these girls to get to play,” Buikema said. “I want them to push themselves.”