Hayden girls fall to West Grand by 1, 59-58

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— Hayden girls coach Donald Rolando shook his head in disappointment as he walked off the court Friday night in another Tiger loss.

The defending Western Slope League champions dropped a heartbreaker to the West Grand Mustangs, 59-58.

Entering the game, the Mustangs had lost just one game, and the Tigers were on the verge handing the first-place Mustangs a second loss in their season. But down the stretch, the Tigers could not pull out the game.

"It comes down to mental toughness," Rolando said. "We just are not finishing games.

"It is killing me."

The Tigers trailed 56-57 with 30 seconds left when the Tigers had a tough call go against them. Sophomore Adriana Svoboda's foul on the Mustangs' Hannah Sheehan was called an intentional foul.

The senior got two free throws she made one, and then the Mustangs got possession of the ball.

The Tigers were then forced to foul junior Lynsey Gage, who also converted just one free throw to give the Mustangs a 59-56 lead.

The Tigers had one last chance to tie the game, but a 3-point shot by senior Natalie McDonald was off the mark. The Tigers' Robin Chiaro grabbed the rebound and scored with three seconds left. The Mustangs were able to inbound the ball to Sheehan, who dribbled up court as time expired.

Sheehan finished with 24 points. She scored 16 in the first-half but was held to eight in the second half.

The Tigers trailed 30-25 at halftime but were able to close the gap in the third quarter. Heading into the final period the Tigers trailed 41-40.

"We stepped up our defense in the third quarter," Rolando said. "We forced them to do things they don't like to do."

The Tigers had numerous chances in the fourth to take the lead but were unable to do so.

"We just didn't get the shots we wanted," said McDonald, who led the Tigers in scoring with 15. "We just didn't execute."

With the win, the Mustangs improved to 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the league. The Tigers dropped to 4-8 and 2-4 in the league.

Rolando was hoping his team would rebound today on the road against Plateau Valley.

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