Steamboat Springs Hayden's girls basketball team had a strong start to its league play as the team walked away with a 39-33 win Saturday against Plateau Valley.
"We're really focused on league games; that is what gets us to regionals," Tigers coach Donald Rolando said.
The Tigers had a balanced offense effort as Kristin Brown, Anna Lighthizer and Kayla Kostur contributed to the win with eight points each. Absent from the lineup was one of the Tigers' top scorers Adriana Svoboda, who was out with an arm injury.
On Saturday, Rolando saw top rebounding from Lighthizer and Kostur and strong point guard play from freshman Alisha Henry.
Although the Cowboys fielded a team with two 6-foot-2 players, Rolando said the program is going through a transition period with a new coach.
"I'd probably say they are one of the weakest team's in the league. They have a new coach; it seems to happen a lot there. Sometimes it takes time for them to get the program down," he said.
Although the Cowboys' size gave the Tigers some trouble, Rolando said the Cowboys lacked chemistry, something that his team took advantage of to get their first league win of the year.
The Tigers' boys basketball team did not fare quite as well in the four-hour trip down to play the Cowboys. The young team lost by more than 40 points to the Cowboys.
Tigers coach Matt Ray said the players were hurt by the absence of Evan Hilling, a freshman who is one of the Tigers' top scorers.
Both the boys and girls teams will face West Grand this Saturday when the girls team begins at 4 p.m.
Although for the girls team that means going up against last year's state champions, Rolando said the Mustangs are going through a rebuilding year after losing four of their top players to graduation.
"West Grand is in a rebuilding year. They have a lot sophomores," he said. "I think we'll match up pretty well."
Ray said the boys team will be facing one of the top teams in the league. With last year's record of 11-11, the Mustangs are returning all of their starters and are ranked seventh in the state for Class 2A teams.
Those returning starters include 6-foot-6 senior James Holmes, 6-foot-5 senior Jay Yust and 6-foot-4 junior Jared Robertson. Those three forwards, with the addition of 6-foot-2 and 5-foot-11 guards, make the strongest Mustang threat their size.
"We're going to have to play a respectable game to stay with them," Ray said.
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