Steamboat Springs Matt Ray and his young Hayden boys basketball team got off to a rough start in its season opener against a tough Snake River High School team.
The Wyoming team defeated Hayden last Friday in Baggs, 81-39.
Ray blamed the Tigers' loss on inexperience. Three of Ray's starting five are freshmen. Chris Frentress, Cam Whiteman and Evan Hilling joined senior Chris Gullet and junior Alan Lighthizer in the starting lineup.
"Overall, I thought we played well," Ray said. "The freshmen played hard, but they did make some mistakes."
It was Hilling who had the best night for the Tigers. Hilling scored 22 points to lead the team in scoring and also grabbed six rebounds. Hilling made five 3-point shots.
"For his first varsity game, Evan did really well," Ray said.
Hayden came out a little timid against Snake River and trailed 44-13 at halftime.
"They were in a little bit of awe," Ray said of the first half. "In the second half, they turned it around and played a lot better."
Also getting playing time were junior Cody Puckett, sophomore Dustin Driscoll and freshman Levi Sheldon.
"It is tough because we are a young team," Ray said. "We are playing against teams that are bigger than us."
Ray also credited Snake River with playing well.
"They were not as good as they have been in years past," Ray said. "But Baggs has a solid team."
The Tigers will be looking for their first win of the season on Thursday when they play in a tournament in Meeker. Hayden will take on Meeker at 8:15 p.m.
The tournament will be the first action for senior Danny Hayden, who missed Friday's game because he did not have enough practices in to play.
"The tournament will be a good challenge for us," Ray said. "We are looking forward to the games."