Mustangs wear down Tigers


— Trailing surprisingly by one point at halftime, the West Grand boys basketball team pounded the ball inside in the second half to wear down a resilient Hayden squad.

The Mustangs defeated the host Tigers 77-57 Friday night, but the game was closer than the score would indicate.

The Mustangs trailed 35-34 at halftime, but the inside play of junior Ray Hedgecoke was the difference in the second half. The forward scored 14 points in the third and fourth periods to finish with a game-high 18 points.

"We just wore them down," said Leo Pesch, the Mustangs' coach. "Hedgecoke played really well in the second half."

Early in the first period, the Mustangs were on the verge of blowing out the Tigers. The Mustangs led 12-4 early on in the game.

The play of two Tigers, senior Matt Walden and junior Chris Gullet, kept the Tigers in the game.

After the end of the first quarter, the Tigers tied the game at 16 apiece. The Tigers kept their strong play going in the second quarter.

The Tigers took a lead into halftime when sophomore Alan Lighthizer hit a layup as time expired.

Walden had 11 points at intermission and Gullet had 10. Walden would finish with 20 points, but Gullet was held scoreless in the second half.

"We just ran out of gas," said Matt Ray, the Tigers' coach. "Once they started to pull away, we could not catch up."

The Tigers trailed 47-57 heading into the final period but scored two quick baskets to cut the lead to six.

The Mustangs would take over the game when they went on an 11-3 run. During the run, Hedgecoke had six points.

"They have some big guys down low, and they use them well," Ray said.

Junior James Holmes, the Mustangs' center, scored 14 points. The Mustangs are now 6-6 overall and 4-2 in Western Slope League play.

With the loss, the Tigers fell to 3-9 and 1-5 in the league.

The Tigers look to rebound today when the team travels to take on Plateau Valley. The Tigers lost to the Cowboys earlier in the season, 83-45.


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